Faced with increased competition from Apple Maps and its 3D views of the city, Google today introduced its own vision for its next generation of Google Maps with a preview of its new, more “immersive” visual experience. The enhancement, showcased during Google’s I/O conference keynote, was part of a combination of computer vision and AI technology to merge Street View and aerial imagery to deliver a model digital world and a new way to explore cities, key landmarks, restaurants, locations and other places of interest.
Google says it merged “billions” of images to create this immersive view, which lets users explore by visually hovering over an area to see what it might look like. For example, if you are planning a trip to London, you can use the feature to look at sites like Big Ben or Westminster to get a better idea of the location, experience, and architecture. You’ll also be able to use a “time slider” to adjust how the area looks at different times of the day – a feature that’s a bit like Apple Maps’ Night Mode with a moonlight glow that activates at dusk. , even when navigating through 3D cities.
Google’s Immersive Mode, however, will also allow users to look up local weather and traffic conditions to help with planning.
This new mode will not only depict major cities from a more immersive perspective – it will also make it easier to explore the interiors of locations, including neighborhood restaurants and other popular locations.
Users will be able to swipe to street level and then click to see what it will look like inside a place they might want to visit. It could help people understand what kind of vibe a restaurant can have, among other things. You can also see the live hustle and bustle of the area and traffic near this level.
The feature won’t be immediately available everywhere, however.
Initially, it will start rolling out in major cities including Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo by the end of the year, with more cities to follow in the coming months. It will work on all platforms and devices, Google said, starting with a rollout to Android and iOS later this year.
The company is also announcing a handful of other Google Maps updates during the event. He said his eco-routing feature, which launched in the US and Canada last fall to help drivers find the most fuel-efficient routes, will expand to Europe later this year.
So far, it’s estimated that adding one saves over half a million metric tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road. Google says European expansion will double that number.
Meanwhile, for developers, Google announced the launch of a new ARCore geospatial API that will bring Maps Live View functionality to developers for use in third-party apps.
Live View is the feature that overlays AR arrows and directions on top of the real world as seen through the smartphone camera. The idea is that you could pull out your phone and see exactly which direction to start walking in when you’re in a new place where you might otherwise be disoriented. It’s as if you’ve dropped right into Google Street View.
Now, Google will also allow its developer partners to create products that use Live View technologies.
One of the partners is micromobility company Lime, which uses the API to help commuters in London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Madrid, San Diego and Bordeaux find places to park their e-scooters and e-bikes. Telstra and Accenture use it to help sports fans and spectators find their seats, concession stands and restaurants at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium. In Japan, Docomo and Curiosity have built a new game that lets players fend off virtual dragons with robot companions in front of Tokyo landmarks, like Tokyo Tower, also powered by the API.