Mapping and navigations are areas where Google shines thanks to products like Google Maps and Waze, which are must-have apps for so many people. Unsurprisingly, Google Maps got a short segment during the Google I/O 2022 keynote this week, where Google unveiled a new Google Maps immersive view feature.
Immersive view will let you explore 3D versions of maps. It builds onto Google’s Street View functionality with the help of artificial intelligence. But the new Google Maps mode will be limited only to certain cities.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai demoed the Google Maps immersive view mode during the event. He showed what it would look like in London. That’s to say popular travel destinations will receive the immersive view treatment first, and that’s understandable. Those are the places that stand to benefit the most from the feature.
Google leverages its computer vision and AI technologies “to fuse together billions of Street View and aerial images to create a rich, digital model of the world,” the company explained in an accompanying blog post.
The new Google Maps mode feels a lot like Apple’s Flyover feature in Maps. Flyover gives you a 3D tour of cities that are major touristic attractions, offering a 3D view of the surroundings. Google Maps immersive view provides a similar experience, considering what we saw in Google’s demos.
How to get Google Maps immersive view
Google might take everything a step further than Apple. Google Maps populates the 3D map imagery with additional layers of information. For example, immersive view should let you explore how busy a place is, nearby traffic, and the weather.
The best part about it is that Google lets you go down to street level and even enter places like restaurants. Once inside, you get a 3D tour of the interior, which Google recreates using photos taken from existing reviews. It is not a real-time live view of the city, of course.
The new mode isn’t necessarily a must-have feature, especially considering it’ll only be available in certain cities initially. Google mentioned Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.
But combined with Live View, the Google Maps feature that turns navigation into an AR experience, immersive view can improve navigating your next vacation destination. But, again, only the cities above will support the feature, initially with more cities coming soon.
The new Google Maps mode will work on “just about any phone and device,” because Google will stream the experience to phones from its servers. That also means it’ll support both iPhone and Android when it comes out. The feature isn’t available right away, however, and Google only said it’s coming sometime later this year.
You can experience immersive view by checking out the I/O 2022 demo below.
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