Google has launched a new augmented reality (AR) navigation tool for Google Maps, which will guide you to your destination by superimposing arrows over real-world footage from your phone's camera.
Last week, it was discovered that Apple has applied for a patent for AR directions that would overlay route directions onto real-world footage captured by a phone's camera. Apple Maps has always struggled in comparison to Google Maps, and it looked like this might finally give it the upper hand.
However, it turns out Apple was way behind the curve – Google had been working on a similar features for months, and its Live View tool is already available as a beta.
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The two AR applications aren't identical, though; while Apple's patent describes a tool that would be used for in-car navigation, Live View is designed to help you find your way around on foot.
Best foot forward
To use Live View, search for a destination, or select one by tapping on the map, then tap the blue 'Directions' button at the bottom of the screen and select 'Walking directions'. Once that's done, a Live View option will appear at the bottom of the screen. Tap this and the app will guide you through the process of using it.
The feature will be welcomed by anyone who's ever struggled to use top-down navigation in built-up areas, where it's sometimes tricky to see exactly which direction you're facing.
Some Google Pixel phone owners and Local Guides contributors have already been able to test Live View, but this week Google is now rolling it out more widely to Android phones that support ARCore and Apple phones that support ARKit (the platforms necessary for augmented reality experiences).