Google is in the process of testing out the augmented reality features for Google Maps in alpha mode. The feature was showcased at the I/O developer conference last year. The augmented reality feature overlays map directions on the phone camera in real-time.
David Pierce of The Wall Street Journal published a video of it being tested out:
This feature picks up the user’s location through GPS. And then it pulls in Google Street View data to determine a more precise location. After the location is determined, it will start displaying directions using large arrows on the screen. “It was as if Maps had drawn my directions onto the real world, though nobody else could see them,” said Pierce via The Verge.
Pierce said that this would not likely be the primary turn-by-turn option, but it is a “huge step in the right direction for Google Maps.” Personally, I could see this feature coming in handy if you are a tourist in a city overseas you have not visited before and need help navigating.
Google UX Design Lead Rachel Inman told Pierce that the feature is “for those moments like, ‘I’m getting off the subway, where do I go first?’” Google has been reportedly testing out different user interface elements for this feature such as an animated guide and a line on the ground.
It is unknown when this feature will roll out for all users. Currently, it is available to a few Local Guides. And it will be released when Google believes it is ready for its public debut.