A new Google Maps update will let you use augmented reality (AR) to explore key locations in major cities.
The feature is called Live View, and it was first mentioned in September during Google’s Search On 22 event. By tapping the new camera icon on the Maps search bar, a series of AR dots will appear on the screen, highlighting landmarks, shops and even ATMs. All you have to do is point your smartphone camera around the surrounding area. These dots will tell you how far a company is and in which direction. In addition, positions that are not immediately visible will also be highlighted, according to the announcement (opens in a new tab).
Point the camera directly at a point (opens in a new tab) it will bring up a bubble that tells you key information like a place’s opening hours and whether or not the place has good reviews. If you’re looking for a specific restaurant or park, you can browse the categories to help narrow it down.
Live View is launching Thanksgiving week for Android and iOS in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo. We asked Google if there are any plans to expand to other major cities in the near future. This story will be updated as we hear back.
In addition to Live View, Google Maps is getting two more humble additions that are available in more locations, starting today for both Android and iOS.
Electric vehicle (EV) owners will more easily find the best charging station with the new “Fast Charge” filter. This highlights stations with vehicle chargers emitting at 50kW or higher. And if your EV uses a specific type of plug, you can narrow down compatible stations with the relevant Plug filter. Note that these modifications are only available in countries that have electric vehicle charging stations.
Accessible Places, which highlights wheelchair-accessible places, is experiencing global expansion. You can activate this feature by accessing the Google Maps settings menu and activating the Accessible Places tool. After that, you will see wheelchair icons in company profiles on Maps which tells you if the place is wheelchair accessible. The tool depends on the community providing accurate information, so Google is asking people to help edit these profiles and add the accessibility icon in the appropriate places.
Elsewhere, the company has updated its other platforms with new shopping-related features as we enter the holiday season. Google AR will help you find (opens in a new tab) the perfect foundation based on certain metrics like skin tone or face shape. Sneaker aficionados will love being able to preview shoes in their room via 3D models while deciding on the finer details like color and tread (although the amount of supported shoe brands is quite limited). And then there’s the food centered Google Lens multi-search update to help people find the name of a specific dish.
If you still need help with your holiday shopping, be sure to step outside TechRadar’s guide to Black Friday live deals. We constantly update it with great offers from the internet.