Google Maps is expanding Immersive View to routes

The upgrade will be available in 15 cities by the end of the year.

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Google Maps is expanding the Immersive View format it revealed last year to an important part of the app: routes. When you look for directions in Google Maps on iOS and Android in select cities, you'll see a more detailed view of the route.

The feature isn't just about making your journey look nicer than a bold line tracing the steps from point A to B (and maybe C). The idea is to bring all of the key information that you may need about the trip into a single place. You'll see details on traffic, weather, air quality, bike lanes and where to find nearby parking.

If you're planning a journey ahead of time and the weather is expected to be foggy or rainy, you'll see that in the visualization. Google is also using a blend of AI, real-time data and long-term trends to give you a sense of how busy traffic might be by displaying a certain number of vehicles on the virtual roads.

Ahead of Google I/O, Miriam Daniel, Vice President of Google Maps Experiences, told Engadget that the team was focusing on the above-ground parts of the journey for now. So, don't expect the visualizations to include your subway trips quite yet. Still, given that Google Maps users look up around 20 billion kilometers' worth of directions per day, Immersive View for Routes could come in handy for many folks.

Google plans to roll out Immersive View for Routes in 15 cities by the end of the year. In the coming months, you'll be able to check it out in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Paris, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Tokyo and Venice.

Immersive View uses AI and computer vision to blend together billions of aerial and Street View images to create 3D models of spaces. Google announced the feature at I/O last year and started rolling it out more broadly in February.

Elsewhere, Google has some Maps-related updates for developers (I/O is the company's annual developer conference, after all). The Google Maps Platform is offering a preview of an Aerial View API for locations in the US starting today. Developers can use this to add "a pre-packaged, birds-eye view video" of a location to their apps or websites. Some of Google's partners are testing out the API, including Rent, which is using it to offer potential renters a more expansive look at a property and the surrounding area. That could give folks a clearer idea of the location where they may end up living before they visit an apartment in person.

Meanwhile, Google is adding Photorealistic 3D Tiles to the Map Tiles API on an experimental basis starting today. This grants developers access to the high-resolution 3D imagery that powers Google Earth. It could make it easier for folks to create their own 3D maps. Google suggests that a tourism company might use the tiles to build interactive and immersive maps for guided tours or to show off the most striking features of a national park.

Follow all of the news from Google I/O 2023 right here.