Google Maps is receiving a host of updates that will make using the feature more intuitive to use. The updates in question were revealed during the Google AI event, where the company announced further information about Google Bard, its answer to ChatGPT.
The big new feature coming to Google Maps is called Immersive View, which fuses Street View and aerial images to create 3D representations of specific locations. Maps is also adding updates to Live View and to navigation.
Here are all the major updates coming to Google Maps.
Immersive View for Google Maps is now rolling out in select cities around the world. As said above, this feature utilizes advances in AI and computer vision to combine Street View and aerial photos to create 3D versions of specified places. On top of that, it also layers information such as weather, traffic and even how busy a place is.
Five cities are getting access to immersive view starting today: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London, and Tokyo. These same cities got a preview of Immersive View in September 2022 but now, it should presumably be available to more people living in those cities. Google has promised that Immersive View will be available in Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence and Venice in the coming months.
With Immersive View, Google hopes to make it easier for folks to plan trips by allowing them to get a sense of their desired destination. For example, if you’re planning to visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, you can virtually soar over the famous landmark and see its entrances. You can use a time slider to see what it looks like at various times of the day and what the weather will be like when you arrive. The feature also shows you where a spot might get the most crowded.
And like the standard Google Maps, you can glide down the street from where you started to view other locations such as restaurants or cafes. Immersive View has the added bonus of giving you a look inside an establishment so you can get an idea of what you’re in for. This seems like a good way to see if you like a place’s vibe.
Live View updates
An update to Live View will allow you to search for things like ATMs, restaurants, parks and transit stops just by lifting your phone when you’re on the street. The technology in question utilizes AI and augmented reality (AR) to overlay information over the real-world image you see on your phone. If you’ve played AR games like Pokemon Go, you’ll have an idea of how this works.
Like immersive view, you’ll see information such as whether or not a place is closed or open, or if it’s busy at the moment. Google recently launched search with Live View in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. It’ll start expanding the feature to Barcelona, Dublin and Madrid in the coming months.
Google said Live View can help users get around unfamiliar places like airports by using AR arrows to point people in the right direction. The company is bringing this feature to over one thousand new airports, train stations, and malls in Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Melbourne and more in the coming months.
Google is introducing new Maps features for EV drivers with vehicles that have Google built-in. This includes adding charging stops to shorter trips, a charging filter to help you find stations that have chargers of 150 kilowatts or higher. It also lets you know if a location you’re going to has a charging station nearby.
Those who choose to walk, bike or take public transportation can experience some of the updates coming to navigation. This includes glanceable directions, which allow you to track your journey from your route overview or lock screen. You’ll get updated ETAs and where to make your next turn without the need to unlock your phone or open the Maps app. Glanceable directions is rolling out globally on Android today, with iOS in the coming months. It will be compatible with Live Activities and iOS 16.1.
Google is leveraging the power of its Bard AI to help improve its popular Maps app. Even if you have reservations about AI-driven technology like this and ChatGPT, it’s hard to decry these AI-powered updates to Maps. Immersive view could be extremely useful for travelers who want a sense of where they’re visiting. Similarly, the AR-focused updates to Live View should also be useful to folks.
It’ll be interesting to see how Google Bard will be received and if it works as intended. We’re going to stay on top of this and ChatGTP so stay tuned for more as it develops.