Google Maps gets “Immersive View” and more announced at I/O

Advances in AI and machine learning played a big part in all the announcements made at Google I/O this year, and it’s no surprise that one of the recipients of AI processing was Google Maps. Maps have taken advantage of AI over the past few years by improving its already very useful features. However, the work is not finished and Google offered us at I/O a few things that simmered.

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Today, thanks to advances in computer vision and AI that allow us to merge billions of Street View and aerial images to create a rich digital model of the world, we’re introducing a whole new way to explore with Maps.

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This feature is what Google calls “Immersive view. With that, you will be able to experience from your phone what a landmark, place or restaurant looks like as if you were there or flying a drone above or directly in it. Also, using this layer in Maps will give you access to a time slider that can let you see what the area looks like at different times of the day or in different weather conditions.

Besides, you can slide down to street level and further explore how busy the place is, what the traffic is like nearby, and even take a peek inside. All of this is possible by using neural rendering to create the experience from images alone. Google Cloud Immersive Stream enable this experience to work on any smartphone and will begin rolling out to Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year. More cities coming soon.

Live View, AR technology that displays arrows and directions overlaid in a live view of maps, is now available to developers at no cost with the launch of the ARCore geospatial API. This technology will enable developers to create apps that can be more useful and immersive by merging the digital and physical worlds. The API is available to ARCore developers wherever Street View is available.

Finally, after having recently presented ecological routing in Maps to help users in the United States and Canada find more fuel-efficient routes, the feature will begin to expand to other locations, like Europe. I have to say that out of all the AI-powered updates that were shared with us at Google I/O, the Google Maps updates and improvements have got to be some of my favorites. So I will be very excited when “Immersive View” rolls out in my city.

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