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Google Maps Augmented Reality Walking Directions Now Rolling Out to Pixel Phones Globally

Simply point your Pixel camera in the direction you wish to go and get AR arrows to guide you.

Google Maps Augmented Reality Walking Directions Now Rolling Out to Pixel Phones Globally

The update brings AR walking navigation in Google Maps only on Pixel phones for now

  • Walking AR navigation is rolling out now to Google Maps
  • It overlays AR arrows in the viewfinder to guide you
  • It’s a staged rollout and for now, is only available on Pixel phones

At Google's ongoing I/O 2019 annual developer conference, the company made a bunch of new software and hardware announcements, one of which was a new update to Google Maps. This update lets you use your phone's camera during navigation, which overlays augmented reality (AR) arrows in the world around you, to help guide you to your destination. This works when you select ‘Walking' as the preferred method of travel in Google Maps. The update is rolling out to Pixel devices only at the moment, but is limited to regions that are covered in Street View. Unfortunately, this means India will not have the feature.

Google announced this at its keynote last night and also tweeted about it from its Google Maps handle. The feature was teased last year and earlier this year, we had a report about Google testing it with local guides or advanced Google Maps users. According to some of the official replies from that tweet, the feature is available globally to any Pixel users and select local guides using other smartphones. For now, there's no information about whether iPhone models have the support.



How to use Google Maps AR walking directions

To use the feature, you simply open Google Maps, map the course of where you want to get to and tap the Walking navigation method. Then, tap Start AR and point your phone's camera at the buildings around you. You should be able to see a giant blue directional arrow pointing you in the direction you need to go. You'll also get a semi-circle of the traditional map, so you can keep a track of your progress.

It seems like a pretty cool feature for sure but keep in mind that this can drain your battery a lot faster. We've used Google Playground AR feature on Pixel phones in the past and noticed a sizeable drop in battery level, not to mention the phone heating up. If this is anything like that, then it might not be the best solution if you're running low on battery. Still, it's a novel feature to have and something Pixel users can brag about, for now at least.

Has Google Pixel 3a's pricing ruined its prospects in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.


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Roydon Cerejo writes about smartphones and laptops for Gadgets 360, out of Mumbai. He is the Deputy Editor (Reviews) at Gadgets 360. He has frequently written about the smartphone and PC industry and also has an interest in photography. With over a decade of experience covering the consumer technology space, he is also an avid sci-fi movie and TV show geek and is always up for good horror flick. Roydon is available at roydon@gadgets360.com, so please send in your leads and tips. More
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