With the release of Immersive View in five cities, Google Maps is moving closer to implementing “glanceable directions.”

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With the release of Immersive View in five cities, Google Maps is moving closer to implementing "glanceable directions."

At today’s event in Paris, Google announced new updates for Maps as part of its plan to make the navigation app more immersive and intuitive for users.

The most noteworthy announcement is that Immersive View will be available in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo as of today. Google’s Immersive View, unveiled at I/O in May 2022, is an innovative way to explore a city before actually visiting it. In the upcoming months, the company intends to roll out Immersive View in additional cities like Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence, and Venice.

By combining billions of Street View images with satellite imagery, this new feature has the potential to revolutionise how we see our planet. It adds contextual data to the digital representation, such as weather, traffic, and foot traffic. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re interested in learning more about the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Use Immersive View to fly around the building and get a better feel for its layout and access points. Moreover, you can check the forecast and the current weather conditions, as well as explore the area at various times of the day. When you use Immersive View, you can see what restaurants are nearby and even take a look inside to see if they’d be a good fit for you.

In a blog post, Google explained how it uses an advanced artificial intelligence technique called neural radiance fields (NeRF) to turn 2D images into 3D representations of real-world scenes. “With NeRF, we can faithfully reproduce a location’s full context, including its lighting, the texture of materials, and what is in the background. This information is useful for determining whether a particular bar or restaurant has the right atmosphere for a special occasion, such as a date night or a group outing for lunch.

A new feature called “glanceable directions” will be available on Android and iOS devices worldwide in the coming months, the company said. This function allows you to monitor your trip from the route summary or the locked screen. Users will be able to see the most up-to-date ETAs and the best next turns to take. The route will be automatically revised by the app if you decide to go a different way. According to Google, you would have to unlock your phone, open the app, and switch to comprehensive navigation mode in order to see this information before. You can use the app’s glanceable directions while walking, biking, or taking public transportation.

Google has also announced that it will be bringing Search with Live View to additional European cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Dublin in the near future. When out and about, you can use your phone’s camera to locate nearby services like stores, ATMs, and eating establishments with the help of the Search with Live View function. Let’s say you’re lost in a strange city and in need of cash; with a quick search of your camera, you can find all the ATMs in the area. Live Search was just released by Google in the following cities: London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo.

More than a thousand additional airports, train stations, and malls in major cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Prague, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, So Paulo, Singapore, and Taipei will be added to the company’s Indoor Live View feature in the coming months. Indoor Live View, which debuted in 2021, makes use of augmented reality arrows to help you locate nearby amenities like restrooms, lounges, taxi stands, car rental counters, and more.

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Last but not least, Google is updating the functionality of the Google Maps integration in electric vehicles. Soon, locations with 150-kilowatt or higher chargers will be readily available to customers. Additionally, the presence of charging stations at locations like supermarkets will be indicated on maps. Also, on any trip that will necessitate a charging stop, Maps will start recommending the best stop based on key factors like current traffic, your charge level, and expected energy. Google promises to begin rolling out all of these new EV features in the upcoming months.

Daniel Harrison

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