AI and machine learning advancements played a big role in all of the announcements made at Google I/O this year, and it’s no surprise that one of the recipients of the AI treatment was Google Maps. Maps have been leveraging AI over the past few years by improving on its already really helpful features. However, the work is not done, and Google treated us at I/O to a few things that have been cooking.
Today — thanks to advances in computer vision and AI that allow us to fuse together billions of Street View and aerial images to create a rich, digital model of the world — we’re introducing a whole new way to explore with Maps.Google Blog
This feature is what Google calls “Immersive View.“ With it, you will be able to experience from your phone what a landmark, venue, or restaurant is like as if you were there or flying a drone above or right into it. In addition, using this layer in Maps will give you access to a time-slider that can let you see what the area looks like at different times of the day or in different weather conditions.
Additionally, you will be able to glide down to the street level and further explore how busy the place is, what the nearby traffic is like, and even get a look inside. All this is possible using neural rendering to create the experience from images alone. Google Cloud Immersive Stream will allow this experience to work on any smartphone and will start rolling out in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo later this year. More cities will be coming soon.
Live View, the AR technology that displays arrows and directions overlaid in a live view of maps, is now being made available to developers at no cost with the launch of the ARCore Geospatial API. This technology will allow developers to create apps that can be more helpful and immersive by merging both the digital and physical worlds. The API is available to ARCore developers wherever Street View is available.
Lastly, after recently introducing eco-friendly routing in Maps to help users in the U.S. and Canada find more fuel-efficient routes, the feature will begin expanding to more locations, such as Europe. I must say that among all the AI-based updates that were shared with us at Google I/O, the updates and improvements to Google Maps have to be among my favorites. So I will be very excited when “Immersive View” rolls out to my city.