Earlier this year Google rolled out a beta version of Navigation with AR to eligible local guides and today they have announced on stage that it out of beta and rolling out this week to eligible users.
Beginning today in Australia a preview of the new Navigation with AR will start rolling out to all Google Pixel users. Navigation with AR uses the phone’s AR Core capabilities combined with Street View to help users navigate more efficiently while walking.
Having used a preview of the functionality in San Francisco this week it worked extremely fast. You click on the ‘Start AR’ button and point the phone at a house/building across the road. Within a few seconds various landmarks on the building are located by the app resulting in a recognition of where you are and what direction you need to travel.
It then tells you to walk that way and you continue to do so until you need the AR again. AR is not on continually with the phone continuously telling you to put phone down while walking. I pointed my Pixel 3a XL at a large number of houses and buildings (not because I needed to but to test it out) and every time it found the correct building, location and direction required with speed. If this is just a preview Google are onto something — especially from travellers exploring a new city.
Navigation with AR relies on the camera’s ability to recognise buildings and signs around you and will therefore not work in low-light environments where it cannot pick landmarks on buildings with any accuracy. It will also only work outdoors at this stage and in areas with relatively recent Street View images.
Although the feature only requires AR Core capabilities and Google Street View it is only being rolled out to Pixel phones at this stage. It is launching today in Australia, the US and several other countries with others to follow in due time.
At this stage it is only in preview so feel free to feedback to Google your thoughts within the app and if you have any major issues hit up their bug tracker. If you have a Pixel phone keep any eye out for a Google Maps update (to version 10.15) and let us know how it goes for you.