Google Maps is receiving a series of AI-enabled upgrades, including expanding its Immersive View feature to also cover routes and navigation.
The updates aim to provide more visual and contextual information.
Immersive View Now Includes Turn-by-Turn Directions
One of the biggest additions is extending Maps’ Immersive View from just places to also encompass routes. Users can now preview trips in an interactive 3D environment.
The enhanced turn-by-turn directions let you visualize each navigational step, including surrounding buildings, traffic conditions, and even weather. This helps drivers and pedestrians better prepare for real-world conditions.
Immersive View leverages AI to stitch together Street View and aerial images into highly-detailed simulated environments mapped to your journey. Users can scrub a time slider to see different times of day.
Initially Launching in 15 Major Cities
Immersive View for routes starts rolling out this week on Android and iOS in over a dozen global metropolises, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo among others.
The launch cities provide a wide sample to gather user feedback. Broader expansion will likely occur once Google refines the technology based on real-world usage.
Enhanced Lens Integration for Nearby Discovery
Also new is tighter integration of Google Lens visual search into Google Maps. Users can launch Lens from the Maps search bar in 50 additional cities worldwide.
This lets people discover nearby places by simply pointing their camera at their surroundings. An AR overlay labels shops, restaurants, and other businesses viewed through the lens.
Maps Search Understands Qualitative Queries
Google is improving Maps’ ability to parse more conversational, qualitative search queries like “dog-friendly breweries” or “vegetarian restaurants with outdoor seating.”
Advanced semantics allow Maps to discern the key relevant points to return better results. This reduces the need for overly structured search terms.
Recommendations Surface Noteworthy Venues, Events
For broader queries like “things to do in London”, Maps will provide tailored recommendations of top venues, events, and seasonal activities.
This curated guidance makes exploration more efficient by surfacing the most noteworthy destinations.
On the navigation front, Google plans updates to make Maps guidance feel more true-to-life. Enhanced mapping adds more realistic building renders, nature depictions, and lane guidance.
Additional traffic details like highlighting high-occupancy vehicle lanes also improve real-world matching. Meanwhile, speed limit notations are expanding to more countries.
EV Charging Details to Aid Drivers
For EV owners, Google will integrate charging point locations more seamlessly, noting available plug types, typical charging speeds, and recency of use.
This arms drivers with key decision-making factors for planning charging stops. Google also unveiled new EV data APIs for third-party development.
In summary, Google’s latest Maps upgrades leverage AI to deliver more visual, intuitive and contextual guidance powered by billions of data points. The goal is to enhance real-world utility through enhanced virtual perspectives.