Google Maps is getting augmented reality directions and recommendation features

Google showed off new features for Google Maps at I/O today, including an augmented reality Street View mode to help you follow directions in real time, along with personalized recommendations to help you discover places in your neighborhood.

The new AR features combine Google’s existing Street View and Maps data with a live feed from your phone’s camera to overlay walking directions on top of the real world and help you figure out which way you need to go. It’s a lot like the promises Google had made with the original version of Google Glass, except without the need for wearing an additional AR headset.

In addition to directions, the new AR mode can help identify nearby places, too, and Google is even testing adding a helpful augmented reality animal guide to lead you along the way. It’s not entirely clear yet whether or not this is a tech demo or a product that will end up on our devices in the near future, but it certainly seems like the natural place for Google’s machine vision tech to go.

Maps is also getting a new tab called “For You” that will feature recommendations specifically tailored to you. Google is using a new “match number” system, which will generate a personal score on how much it thinks you’ll like the recommendation based on your past likes and reviews, as well as your saved food preferences. (So, for example, Maps will know that you like ramen, but dislike pizza, and can factor that into its recommendations.)

Google is also adding more social features to Maps, making it possible to share multiple places to friends with a single action, and vote on them together in real time to decide where to go without having to leave the app.

The new social and recommendations features for Maps are set to come to both Android and iOS later this summer, with no release date announced yet for the augmented reality directions.


This is exactly what I expected from Apple with AR Kit.

Unfortunately too many people would be walking into walls/building and falling off bridges so apple will need to polish it a bit more…

Nope. Those days are over. It’s fairly accurate now.

That’s true. They just keep the maps out of date so you don’t have any risky encounters anymore.

It’s a lot more accurate than it used to be, but it’s most definitely not near Google Maps level.

There already are AR navigation apps in App Store that use ARKit like ARCity. Use cases for AR (like nav, measurements, shopping/visualization, gaming, etc) are limited but slowly showing up since Apple launched ARKit.

Apple cannot even hope to compete against maps until they use ML to create new data.

It’s a nice demo but it’s missing a ship date. Reminds me of those photo editing features demoed from last IO and that’s still missing.

It’s scraped. Hope the same won’t happen to this feature.

Awesome news with this. I can’t wait until it’s implemented.

I don’t remember if it could navigate in AR, but I remember Nokia working on similar project

Do people really navigate like this when walking around in the city? Like, holding the phone out in front of them that way? Seems extremely unnatural to me but I’ve used my watch for this for the past few years now and I’ll just stick with seeing these walking directions pushed on to my wrist while my phone rests easy in my pocket.

"For You" seems interesting but it is dead to me as soon as it recommends an Applebee’s. I also don’t see the decision making process itself moving away from the messaging app but that’s an intriguing idea.

It’s more exactly the use case that the presenter mentioned on stage. You just came out of the subway and both you and the dot are super disorientated. It basically just helps move you to the right starting point, and I can’t wait for it! I’ve walked the wrong way coming out of a subway more times than I can possibly count, so this is very VERY welcome.

Yeah, getting to skip over that, ‘okay, it’s either this way or this way’ walk for a bit ‘okay, the dot went the wrong way, it’s back the other way’ stage of city navigation would be just wonderful.

If there are two ways to go, 10/10 times I will pick the wrong way. Its incredible no matter how much I analyse the map I still manage to pick the wrong way every time. Also will be super handy in London which has lots of silly places like Canary Wharf that is a maze and following instructions on Google maps is hit and miss. Actually being able to see the directions on what the actual area looks like sounds like a great idea.

Remember having something like this on the Lumia way back in 2013 or so. It was a pretty useful feature actually. Except that Here maps back then didn’t have as much data. But it was still pretty cool. Tied to Foursquare and all that.

As a person who travels for a living, this version of walking navigation would be a game-changer for me. I really hope it ships soon and isn’t just another demo that doesn’t turn into reality for another several years.

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