Google Maps will make it easier for people to find their way when they get lost in busy urban spaces using large carton arrows. The new augmented reality feature started rolling out on Monday for selected users. The feature shows graphics such as virtual arrows as well as street names in thin air. This is done over a live view from the users’ smartphone camera screen. The arrows help navigate through cities until they get to where they wanted to go.
A lot of technology companies are working on AR products but very few have actually managed to achieve any real success with consumers. Two challenges have always been pointed out as the main cause of this. First, there’s a feeling that a lot of people don’t know what to do with this kind of technology. In addition to this, meshing up virtual images with real objects around people can be very difficult.
Google feels that the new feature on Maps may have solved these issues. However, the navigation tool is still in its early testing phase and there’s a lot of work left to finally make it work as effectively as possible. The biggest challenge will be to make the AR images interchange seamlessly as people move around. So far, some users that have managed to test out the demo noted that in some cases the images stopped working during navigation.
But there’s no denying how important this technology is. For people who visit new places on a regular basis, it can easily help them get by with a lot of ease. Google says that the feature at the moment is limited to a few regular contributors. The company says that it’s trying to roll it out to all users in the near future. Google also notes that it’s still learning a lot from these tests and there’s a big chance that the feature might improve even more in the coming days.
Typically, a smartphone will use its GPS and compass to determine your current location and the direction that you are facing on a map. But if you’re in a crowded city, the GPS and compass may have a hard time doing this. This is because the GPS will need a line of site to pass along the radio signals from satellites right to your phone. So if you’re walking through tall buildings, the signal might not get to you in time or not get to you at all.
In addition to this, it’s easy for the compass to get thrown off in a big city due to the existence of many magnetic objects. Google’s new feature uses artificial intelligence to help determine where landmarks are by analyzing billions of images on its database. This makes it easier for navigation even if the signals on the GPS are not working well. In order for this to happen, you will have to get your phone out, open the camera, and lift it up so that the device can see where you are.