Debuting exclusively on Google’s Pixel phones earlier this year, the "Live View" feature on Google Maps overlays real-time augmented reality navigation directions on top of the real world. Now, the feature is expanding to a wider range of ARCore equipped Android devices and ARKit enabled iPhones, and you can download the beta this week.
Using Live View is simple. After you search for your location, select the walking directions option. If your route includes Street View, a new live Live View option should pop up on the bottom of your screen. By selecting this option, you can hold a compatible phone up next to your surroundings. This will reveal arrows and directions overlaid on top of your device's camera view to make it even easier to locate buildings and your destination.
While Live View admittedly sounds like a novelty, there are some use cases where the feature can be incredibly useful. Here in New York, skyscrapers interfere with GPS positioning. Visible directions can help users orient themselves in the correct direction when hopping off a subway or navigating obscured streets.
Look Around, an upcoming competitor feature coming to the new version of Apple Maps, will offer street view directions with more detailed pictures and a more cohesive direction UI. However, it will not make use of a live AR overlay and won't arrive until iOS 13 in September.
We'll be taking AR Walking Directions for a spin around New York City and will report back with the results.