Today’s Google I/O event was mostly about AI features, but there were a few unrelated features revealed as well. For example, Google Maps is getting a new “Immersive View” that takes navigation to the next level.
Today, Google showed off a new mode for Google Maps that will display the route on top of the existing 3D map models. You’ll be able to scroll through directions, with lines and arrows visible above the map. Google even showed off weather effects in the render, like rain — that might be annoying for anyone trying to use this for directions, but it is a neat tech demo.
The new mode relies on a detailed 3D map, which isn’t available in all areas. For that reason, Google says the feature is “coming to 15 cites by the end of the year,” with the initial areas going live sometime in the next few months. The first batch of cities will be Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Paris, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Tokyo, and Venice.
Google explained in a blog post, “Immersive View uses computer vision and AI to fuse billions of Street View and aerial images together to create a rich, digital model of the world. With this technology, you can see all the information you need about your route at once. When you get directions, you’ll see a multidimensional experience that lets you preview bike lanes, sidewalks, intersections and parking along your journey. With the time slider, you’ll see air quality information and how the route looks as the weather changes throughout the day, so you can be prepared with a jacket or sunscreen.”
We’ll have to wait and see if the feature is useful in the real world. Google Maps already has a mode in the mobile app where you can see live directions through AR, which is definitely helpful for orienting yourself in unfamiliar areas. The new mode looks more like screenshots from Cities Skylines.