Google Maps is getting an "Immersive View" that will offer users digitally rendered looks at major US cityscapes, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told the audience at Google's I/O 2022 keynote on Wednesday.
The new feature uses computer vision and AI to blend Maps' existing Street View function with aerial photography to create high-resolution models of the various buildings and urban features of a given location. "With our new immersive view, you’ll be able to experience what a neighborhood, landmark, restaurant or popular venue is like — and even feel like you’re right there before you ever set foot inside," wrote Miriam Daniel, VP of Google Maps, in a blog post. What's more, Maps' other tools and features can be applied to the view as well, enabling users to see what the area looks like at different times of the day and varying weather conditions.
Immersive View will first be available for Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year, with more cities to follow. The company also notes that its recently released eco-routing feature, which lets drivers in the US and Canada to pick the most fuel efficient route for their trip, has already been used to travel 86 billion miles and prevented the release of roughly half a million metric tons of carbon emissions.
Google isn't the only company making its navigation systems more readable and user friendly. At WWDC 2021 last June, Apple rolled out a higher-fidelity version of its Maps app, offering added detail like elevation gradients, brighter road colors, more prominent location labels, and hundreds of custom icons for local landmarks.
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