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Google Maps AR enters beta for iPhone and Android

Google Live View AR

Google announced that ‘Live View’, a feature in Google Maps that uses AR to guide travellers via arrows placed on the world, is becoming available as a beta on iPhone and Android devices.

Previously, this was only available to Local Guides and Google Pixel users for testing.

The feature is designed to guide people around a city, prodding people in the right direction as they lift their phone. The benefit of the feature is that, instead of looking around to see where to go next, it can just be shown clearly.

This is alongside new features such as Reservations, letting people see what has been booked, and Timeline which provides shared memories with friends via location data.

AR in action
Photo: Google


Overall, it is a neat feature. There have been a few times where I’ve been lost in a city, and attempted to pivot my home to work out where to go next, or which street to take. AR arrows to guide the way makes sense, and adds more information. I can also see the features working amazingly with AR glasses. But if the story seems short, that’s because it’s all the information given by Google this morning. Details are scarce for now as it enters beta.

The feature may be cumbersome for some. Holding a phone up to see which way to go might seem superfluous, as looking at a map may be enough. There is also no indication yet of how accurate it is, or if it can point people to the wrong place.

Regardless, it is an interesting feature. I see the feature having its place among people who need a little extra guidance, an additional tool on the belt of the phone-wielding traveller.