Already in May, Google demonstrated an innovative navigation system that uses the phone's camera to provide GPS with increased reality. Although the demo was very promising, it was not expected that this feature would be immediately available even for testing. However, the company now allows selected people, mostly Local Guides with access to a pre-selection of Maps, to use the feature, and David Pierce of the Wall Street Journal is among the lucky ones to try it for the first time.
We all went for what looked like miles in the wrong direction before we realized the compass of our phone had gone and led us the wrong way. These days are almost over, as Google's AR-based leadership is gradually entering our lives. Although the version tested by WSJ is not final, it helps us better understand what's going on.
The future version of Maps will give you access to a special AR mode using a dedicated button or by lifting your phone. Initially, you will be prompted to move the handset around so that it can recognize the surrounding landmarks to compare them with the GPS location and compass data. The app will then show the camera input on your screen and tilt the arrows pointing to your destination. The traditional map will still appear at the bottom of the screen, so you can have a bird's eye view of where you left off. Google does not expect you to use this feature throughout the guide, but easier to navigate through complex junctions. If you continue to go with the camera pointing to the street, the app will eventually ask you to place the device in order to save the battery, as you should use it only rarely.
Although this feature looks great for pedestrian directions, I would like to use it for the time being. In fact, I was so accustomed to the new AR-based Mercedes-Benz MBUX (which you can see below) that I can not imagine to go back to the traditional navigation system. I believe Google will work on additional safety features before allowing you to use this mobile phone because you probably do not want to keep your phone while driving!
We look forward to seeing this post at the tables and we'll let you know as soon as you pick it up for rotation.