If you’ve ever dreamt of being able to head into a location while checking spots in Google Maps, today, the firm is introducing Immersive View, giving you the freedom to take a look inside a location as if you were actually there. So how does Google make this possible? It uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to fuses billions of photos taken from Street View and aerial images in order to accomplish this. It takes all the data and creates a digital replica of the place you’re trying to explore.
You can now see this in Maps, allowing you to virtually visit a location and see its exterior and surroundings in great detail. There’s also a time slider that will allow you to see how the area changes depending on the time of day. You can also see how the weather will affect the area as well. Furthermore, you can get a better feel about the locations and areas you want to visit by checking out traffic data, and as stated before, you can take a closer look at a popular restaurant by actually popping inside the establishment using Google Maps.
As far as how Google is able to recreate these interior settings, the firm shares that it uses “neural radiance fields (NeRF), an advanced AI technique” that “transforms ordinary pictures into 3D representations.” This technique allows the team at Google to recreate stunning interiors with proper textures and lighting, giving it a more accurate look. Immersive View will now be available in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. So if you’re traveling to those cities or live in those cities and want to explore virtually, you can do so starting today.
Navigate using AR
When it comes to navigating using augmented reality, Google Maps has offered the feature for quite some time, originally adding outdoor Live View back in 2020. A year later, the firm expanded the feature to include indoors locations in the United States, Tokyo, and Zurich, and is now taking things even further by adding more than 1,000 indoor Live View locations to its database.
That means you’ll be able to pull out your phone in more locations and get information about some of the busiest malls, train stations, and even airports. You’re going to be able to take in more information at a glance, just by using your supported smartphone, giving you details about restaurants, ATMs, parks, and more. The indoor Live View additions will be rolling out over the coming months and will include locations like “Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Melbourne, Paris, Prague, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, and Taipei.”
Features for EV drivers
It looks like electric vehicles with Google built-in will now be getting refreshed Maps features catering specifically towards EV owners. In order to make things more convenient, Google will now consider charging stops when navigating to locations that will require the vehicle to charge. Furthermore, drivers will have the option to filter charging stations, enabling them to find areas that have chargers that supply 150 kilowatts or higher. In addition, charging stations will now be shown in search results, making it easy to get more things done at once.
Per usual, you can give a majority of these new features a try just by downloading Google Maps for your iOS or Android device. The Immersive View is going live today in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo, while the AR navigation feature rolling out to more regions will be coming over the next few months. As far as the EV features, as long as your vehicle has Google built-in, the updates should be processed automatically and the features should be available. Naturally, every manufacturer could be different, so please be patient if you don’t see it immediately.