Using Google Maps for navigating a new city (or just getting around in your own) makes exploring a cinch. And it’s about to get even easier: Google Maps has rolled out a preview of its new augmented reality directions, as first reported by God Save the Points. And it could make sure you never make a wrong turn again.
A Preview of Google Maps Augmented Reality Directions
Google Maps augmented reality directions feature is the perfect solution for every time you’ve asked, “Wait, which way is the arrow pointing me?”
This feature essentially recognizes your location and overlays arrows and street signs to life to point you in the right direction. Tilt your phone up so your phone is “looking” at your surroundings, and much like Google Lens, Google will recognize where you’re at and prompt you to turn towards the direction you’re headed next.
Curious what augmented reality directions look like? Check out this preview video of how Google Maps is changing the directions game.
Right now, this preview is only available for Google Pixel phones. iPhone and Android users, keep an eye out for an update to your Google Maps app.
How to Use Google Maps Augmented Reality
Google Pixel owners, open up your Google Maps app and put in directions to a destination. Instead of clicking “Start,” choose the “Start AR” option.
In this Google Maps augmented reality directions preview, you’ll be instructed to tilt your camera up and point it towards buildings and signs across the street so Google Maps can get its bearings. At this point, you’ll be able to see the normal Google Maps view at the bottom.
Once you point your camera up and across the street, you’ll see dummy-proof, massive blue signs noting the street name and arrows pointing towards the direction you should walk.
You’ll also see a smaller arrow prompting you which way to walk on the side of your phone screen, and the normal Google Maps view at the bottom.
Once you turn in the direction Google Maps is directing you to go, you’ll see the next street name graphic you’ll turn on projected in the distance.
With this augmented reality mode, it’s important to note that you’ll only see these arrows and signs brought to life when you’re standing still. Once you start walking, Google Maps will prompt you to lower your phone and use Google Maps like normal.
Lower your phone to walk, and you’ll be back to the normal Google Maps view you’re used to. Once you get to that next turn, if you’re not sure where to go next, you can tilt your phone back up to be prompted which way to turn.
Important Notes About Google Maps Augmented Reality
There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when using this new Google Maps feature:
- First, this feature is only available in preview mode for Google Pixel phones at the moment. If you’re an iPhone or Android user, keep your eyes peeled for an update to your Google Maps app here in the near future.
- Remember that for the augmented reality feature to work, Google needs to be able to see your surroundings. This feature works best in daylight.
- We love using Google Maps offline to get around a city we don’t have data in. Unfortunately, you’ll need data to use the augmented reality directions feature. If you don’t have a Google Fi plan, it may be a bit pricey to try this out on data abroad. Try it out domestically first.
Google has been leading the way lately in making travel as seamless as possible. From feature updates to Google Flights and the addition of Google Trips on Google.com/Travel to Google Hotels, Google is absolutely crushing all aspects of planning travel.
If you’re tired of starting off in the opposite direction or notorious for taking a wrong turn, check out this new feature from Google Maps.