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Google I/O 2018 | Google Maps will let you navigate with your camera | AR

Google I/O 2018

Google lens update

Google Maps have been a great product ever since their launch. Gone are the days when people used to look up places on paper maps. Now every information is available on google maps, along with direction from your current position using your smartphone.

In Google I/O 2017, Google had announced VPS or visual positioning service which used Augmented Reality to determine position.

Check out our Google I/O 2018 themed wallpapers

Read about the Google lens announcements at Google I/O 2018 

This year, Google has incorporated the same technology into maps.

So now, you can use the camera app to visually navigate through the streets.

Here is how it will work!

When the update rolls out to all ANDROID and iOS users, people will get a camera icon when navigating to a particular destination.

Upon clicking the camera icon, the following screen will be displayed.

Google Maps VPS

As shown, the camera will display the visuals in front of you through the camera and layer augmented reality over it.

Using this augmented reality layer, it will try and tell you precisely which turn you should take, or if you are taking the correct turn.

You will also have the ability to have guided navigation through some augmented reality animated characters like a fox or dog leading the way. This approach might be used when the user is walking as a running fox makes no sense when inside a car.

Some Drawbacks

All this sounds really amazing and taken out of a sci-fi movie. However, it surely won't be perfect when it launches.

  • It would quite surely work really well in the US and Europe where map data is complete and precise, but it will be interesting to see how well it will work in India.

  • Also, such augmented reality would definitely require processing power as well as all the sensors such as gyroscope, accelerometer and compass. With many smartphones coming without some sensors and lower specced hardware, it will be again challenging for this feature to work as well.

  • Finally, the GPS navigation already takes a heavy toll on the battery life of a smartphone. Using the camera for Augmented Reality navigation will increase the stress even further. How Google will be able to manage that still remains to be seen.

Despite these drawbacks, the new feature is amazing and shows the prowess of Google in Machine Learning, AI, and Maps.

It also reiterates the fact that Augmented Reality is much more useful in the near future, something the Apple CEO Tim Cook has been saying for quite some time now.

With Apple already at the AR forefront with its ARKit, expect some similar features to come out soon on iOS.

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