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Google Maps AR navigation is finally here (if you have a Pixel phone)

Google Maps will finally let you navigate by holding your phone up to get augmented reality directions.

Published onMay 7, 2019

Google Maps AR Navigation as seen during Google I/O 2018.

Google first demonstrated augmented reality (AR) features in Google Maps at its developer conference last year. It’s taken a while since then, but the tech colossus has brought a preview version to consumers.

Google Maps AR navigation allows you to navigate on-foot by holding your phone up and using the rear camera, with arrows and other information overlaid into the viewfinder. This way, you don’t have to worry if the blue dot (representing you) is heading in the right direction when using Maps the traditional way.

The feature, which is exclusive to Pixel phones for now, only works when walking. So you understandably can’t use this while driving.


Google Maps AR Navigation.

There are a few caveats before you jump into the preview though, as it’s rolling out to “major” cities (e.g. San Francisco, Paris, London), while India isn’t included at all. Furthermore, Google says it only works outdoors and in areas with a “recently published” Street View.

Probably the biggest limitation is that the feature doesn’t work at night, because the app needs to recognize buildings and signs via the rear camera. That means no drunken navigating from the pub, although day-drinking is always an option I guess. What do you think of AR navigation in Google Maps? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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