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The most exciting Google Maps feature ever is about to get even better

Published Sep 20th, 2019 9:36AM EDT
Google Maps Features
Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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About a month ago, Google released the most exciting Google Maps feature ever to more Android and iPhone devices that support augmented reality (AR) features. That’s the Live View mode that places virtual directions right on top of an actual view of your surroundings with the help of the phone’s camera. AR usage definitely eats into battery life, of course, that’s why you wouldn’t use Live View mode continuously on your device. But it turns out that Google might have another exciting trick in the works that could significantly improve Google Maps navigation while walking, and further reduce the need to bring up Live View on the screen.

Here’s how Live View looks in action:

Image source: Google

Live View is terrific, but wouldn’t it be even better if you didn’t need to rely on it quite as much so that it didn’t drain your battery? Newly discovered in Google Maps version 10.26.67 is a walking navigation mode that has a new name. According to a new xda-developers app teardown, it’s called Eyes Free, and the feature should reduce the amount of screen time needed while walking with Google Maps navigation.

The feature will “[add] more detailed voice guidance during walking navigation” which should reduce users’ dependency on the screen. Pair Eyes Free with Live View, and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get lost again.

While there’s plenty of code to prove that Eyes Free is in the works, the teardown didn’t feature any screenshots to highlight any UI changes for Google Maps. Also, it’s unclear whether Eyes Free is available to anyone at this point, or how much extra information it will provide. The report does note that you can disable the feature if you don’t want it by going to the Settings section of Google Maps and toggling the mode under Walking options. That is, of course, if it ever starts rolling out.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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