At the I/O event on Wednesday, Google launched a new model for Maps. This new model for Maps has been designed by the search giant to give users a more real-life feel of the places searched. The design is characterized by a new Immersive View of a Street View in the sky. The new design provides users with a view of the searched location from above or from the street level. Both views allow users to get a sense of the neighborhood and specific spots users might want to engage with. Maps overlay its live busyness and traffic info, so you get a quasi-augmented reality look at whatever spot/location you’re looking at.
Although you can tell that the images behind the all-new Immersive View are computer-generated. The images were generated by a combination of Google’s satellite captures and its Street View shots. Now the most interesting part when using this Google product is that as you move through these images, it appears like one is playing a video game on medium graphics set in a precisely scaled real world. According to Liz Reid, a VP of engineering at Google “We’re able to fuse those together, so that we can actually understand, okay, these are the heights of the buildings. How do we combine that with Street View? How do we combine it with an aerial view to make something that feels much more like you were there?”
Reid described the new mode for maps as an offering that entirely showcases the dynamics of Google Earth’s massive zoom but on a neighborhood level for now. Reid revealed that Google’s been working on this feature for a while now. “It’s a thing where we had demos years ago, and it was like, ‘oh, here’s the thing,’ but it didn’t really work. Now the technology has come a long way into making it feel pretty natural,” says Reid.
The Immersive View will work on most devices out there, but for now works only in a few neighborhoods like San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. The company hopes to include more cities in the next few months.
As Google continues to set a new pace by driving its Maps to deliver a more live, 3D experience, it also opens up several users to the app ecosystem full of incredible advantages. Now, third-party developers can benefit from the Maps features by tapping into the Live View AR corner of Maps for super-precise location tracking in the real world as well as an AR layer on top. Google’s working with developers on apps that help you find a place to park, navigate a location, or just let you play AR games with dragons in the real world.
Google Maps users really need to understand now that Google Maps have really transformed, it’s no longer just an app for getting from place to place, it has now transformed into a digitalized version of the real world. Google Maps has recorded helping over one billion people navigate and explore, now is transitioning into helping people bring the most helpful information about the real world. Thanks to huge advancements in AI/AR technology which continue to get bigger and bigger, Google is shifting its focus from crawling the web to crawling the Earth. With the new Immersive View, in particular, it’s extremely incredible to imagine the future of Google Maps.