Google Maps enables Immersive View, a new mode that lets you “fly” over cities

Complementing the navigation mode, Google Maps is enabling Immersive View, an augmented reality-based feature that lets you see your chosen destination as if you were flying over the city. So you can discover nearby points of interest such as cafes, parks and accommodation with minimal effort by rotating your phone as if the screen were a window to your destination.

Orientation with Google Maps is aided by visual cues that are much easier to follow than ever before, with Immersive View using augmented reality technologies to make it easier to find your way around the location you plan to visit.

Typically, the route to follow is rendered on a dynamic version of Google Maps, which rotates based on the direction we’re moving and moves forward based on location coordinates set with the GPS receiver. Without direct visual cues, orientation can become confusing once you actually reach your destination. So Immersive View comes as an intermediary solution between Google Maps and Street View images, to use when you need to quickly find your way around a location.

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Adapted from the satellite view already available with Google Earth, Immersive View takes you a little closer to street level, with the screen becoming a sort of high-level window into the destination. And to make the experience as realistic as possible, the environment is adjusted based on real-time weather conditions (e.g. clear or cloudy skies, rain, snow, fog).

Further with the Live View navigation feature enabled in the Google Maps app, you can also have visual directions overlaid on top of Street View images, using your phone for orientation on city streets and even inside certain shopping centres. Google says Live View navigation will be available in more than 1,000 airports, malls and train stations in cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Melbourne, Paris, Prague, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Taipei. For now, the new functionality is only enabled for a few locations in the US, with plans to expand to other major cities in the near future.

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