Google Maps gets Immersive View, a new mode that lets you explore selected destinations

Building on the idea that navigating from point A to point B using Google Maps isn’t enough, Google will also offer Immersive View, a new augmented reality-based feature that lets you see your chosen destination as if you were flying over the city. What’s more, you’ll be able to discover nearby points of interest such as cafes, parks and accommodation locations with minimal effort by rotating your phone as if the screen were a window to the destination.

Orientation using Google Maps will be assisted by visual directions that are much easier to follow than ever before, with the new Immersive View feature using augmented reality technologies to make it easier to find your way around the location you plan to visit.

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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 a challenge once you actually reach your destination. So Immersive View comes as an intermediate solution between Google Maps and Street View images.

Adapted from the satellite-viewing mode already available with the Google Eartch app, Immersive View takes you a little closer to street level, with the screen becoming a kind of high-level perspective window on the destination in question. And to make the experience as realistic as possible, the ambience is adjusted based on real-time weather conditions (e.g. clear or cloudy, rain, snow, fog).

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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.

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