Google Maps' AR walking directions comes to many more phones

Now called "Live View," it works on recent iPhone and Android devices.

One of Google's coolest apps, by far, has yet to see the light of day for most users. I'm talking about Maps' live AR walking directions -- now known as Live View -- that shows you via a Pokémon-like visual overlay how to get to your destination. Now, Google has announced that it's rolling Live View out in much wider beta to modern Android and iOS phones equipped with ARCore or ARKit.

Engadget had a chance to test the app in an early preview in February 2019, and we found it to be pretty cool but still a bit rough around the edges. At its I/O developer conference, Google unveiled a limited release of the app for Pixel devices owners and Local Guides. One of the key changes it made was to limit screen time while walking to make the experience safer.

On top of Live View, Google Maps unveiled a Reservations tab in "Places" that lets see all your flight and hotel reservations in one spot whether you're on or offline. It's also got an updated version of the Timeline (on Android only) that makes it easy to find a spot you've visited in the past, provided you have Location History turned on.

The new Live View is rolling out to Maps starting today, Google said. To try it out, you can search for a location to walk to, tap on the blue directions button and tapping the walking icon. At that point, if the feature is available on your device, you can select a new button called "Live View" near the bottom of the screen. You'll then be guided through the use of the feature. It looks like a huge improvement over the current (wonky) walking directions, just make sure to keep your wits about you while using it.