Have you ever lost your way even while using Google Maps? Well, worry no more.
Google Maps wants to make it easier for people to find their way in busy urban spaces, and it thinks large cartoon arrows can help.
Last week, Google Maps began a beta test for a new AR feature in its mobile app which shows graphics such as highlighted arrows and street names floating in midair over a live view from their camera on their smartphone screens. It is meant to help them navigate the city streets.
Google’s Rachel Inman, who works on user-experience for the new feature, said that the company hopes to make it simpler to go between the two-dimensional map on your phone and the three-dimensional world around you.
“We’ve all had the experience of coming up from the subway and walking a half block or a full block in the wrong direction and being really annoyed when we have to turn around and walk the way we were supposed to go in the first place,” she told CNN Business at a demonstration of the feature in San Francisco on Monday.
Google said that for now, the feature is only being offered to a small group of people who frequently use and contribute to Google Maps. The company isn’t saying when it will be generally available. “We are still learning a lot; this is still very early,” cautioned Marek Gorecki, an Engineering Manager for Google Maps. “It was mostly a distraction. You don’t want to overdo it.”
While this may seem like one of the many mobile compatible features, it brings to light a more interesting vision of the future. This is one of the many ways augmented reality glasses – which superimpose computer images over the real world – could actually be useful.