A new Google Maps update will let you use augmented reality (AR) to explore key places in major cities.
The feature is called Live View, and it was first hinted at back in September during Google's Search On 22 event. By tapping the new camera icon on the Maps search bar, a series of AR dots will appear on the screen, highlighting landmarks, stores, and even ATMs. All you have to do is aim your smartphone camera around your surrounding area. These dots will tell you how far away a business is and in which direction. And locations not in your immediate view will also be highlighted, according to the announcement (opens in new tab).
Pointing the camera directly at a dot (opens in new tab) will make a bubble appear telling you key information like a location's opening hours and whether or not the place has good reviews. If you’re looking for a specific restaurant or park, you can browse through categories to help you narrow things down.
Live View is rolling out Thanksgiving week for Android and iOS in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo. We asked Google if there are plans to expand to other major cities in the near future. This story will be updated if we hear back.
Besides Live View, Google Maps is getting two, more humble additions that are available in more locations, starting today for both Android and iOS.
Electric vehicle (EV) owners will have an easier time finding the best charging station with the new “Fast Charge” filter. This highlights stations with vehicle chargers that output at 50 kW or higher. And if your EV uses a specific type of plug, you can narrow down compatible stations with the accompanying Plug filter. Be aware these changes are only available in countries that have EV charging stations.
Accessible Places, which highlights wheelchair-friendly places, is seeing a global expansion. You can activate this feature by going into the Google Maps settings menu and toggling the Accessible Places tool. Afterward, you'll see wheelchair icons in business profiles on Maps telling you if the place is wheelchair accessible. The tool is contingent on the community providing accurate information, so Google is asking people to help edit these profiles and add the accessibility icon to appropriate places.
Elsewhere, the company has been updating its other platforms with new shopping-related features as we enter the holiday season. Google AR will help you find (opens in new tab) the perfect makeup foundation according to certain metrics like skin tone or face shape. Sneakerheads will appreciate the ability to preview shoes in their room via 3D models as they decide on the finer details like color and treads (although the amount of supported shoe brands is rather limited). And then there’s the food-centric Google Lens Multisearch update to help people find the name of a specific dish.
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