Google has announced several new AI-powered updates coming soon to Google Maps that aim to help users plan trips, navigate unfamiliar areas, find electric vehicle charging stations, and discover new places and activities.
The most visually advanced new feature is Immersive View for routes, providing users with a detailed preview of their journey from start to finish.
Using advanced AI to fuse billions of Street View and aerial images, Google claims Immersive View will allow users to experience simulated journeys as if they were there.
The Immersive View preview is an interactive experience, allowing users to explore routes from different vantage points, zoom, pan, and even change the time of day or weather conditions. This gives users a sense of what the journey will be like before embarking.
Immersive View leverages computer vision, artificial intelligence, and billions of Street View and aerial images to generate its highly detailed 3D representations of routes.
In addition to routes, Immersive View was first launched earlier this year for individual landmarks and locations. Developers can also create immersive experiences through new 3D mapping tools in the Google Maps Platform.
Immersive View for routes will start rolling out this week on Android and iOS in cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tokyo.
Updates To Lens
Google Maps is expanding its Lens feature, which lets users orient themselves in unfamiliar areas by lifting their phone’s camera.
Using AI and augmented reality, Lens shows information about nearby restaurants, shops, transit stations, and more right on top of the view from the camera. After launching in a handful of cities last year, Lens is coming to over 50 more cities globally.
Updates For Electric Vehicle Drivers
Several updates aim to provide electric vehicle drivers with more helpful information for reducing “charging anxiety” on trips.
Users will now see specifics like compatibility, the number, type, power level of chargers, and data on when chargers were last used to avoid broken ones.
These features start rolling out this week worldwide.
AI-Powered Visual Results
Google Maps is reimagining search with new AI-powered visual results. Users searching for specific activities like “animal latte art” will now see photo results of matching locations.
The thematic search results are based on billions of photos analyzed by advanced computer vision models. Users can tap through the photo results to view details, reviews, directions, and more about each location.
Google says these visual search innovations rely on its computer vision, image recognition, and artificial intelligence advances. The new visual search experience launches in France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US this week.
Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.google/products/maps/google-maps-october-2023-update/, October 2023.