Google Maps to get augmented reality, 'VPS' & other improvements

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 8
Google on Tuesday teased upcoming changes to Google Maps, among them augmented reality support and a concept called "VPS," short for "visual positioning system."

Google Maps AR concept


With AR on, a future version of the Maps app will merge its traditional interface with a live camera view. When doing navigation, superimposed arrows will appear at each turn, making it harder to misinterpret directions. The company is even experimenting with inserting animated characters such as a fox, which would remove any doubt and make the app more entertaining.

AR technology may also make its way into the rest of the app, for example popping up an information card when looking at a storefront.

VPS is a related feature, combining the live camera view with Google's data trove to get a better sense of position than possible with just GPS. The technology could be especially useful in dense urban areas where GPS is often blocked by skyscrapers.

Google VPS concept


A less radical additional in the works is a "For You" tab that will show nearby points of interest, with a "Your Match" feature attempting to custom-tailor recommendations. One intended use of this is sharing lists with friends instead of having to rattle off names from memory.

Google VP Aparna Chennapragada didn't say when these features might come to Maps, or if they'll be available on iOS as well as Android.

Apple has expressed its own deep interest in AR, engineering newer iPhone camers with it in mind, and providing ARKit to developers wanting to build apps. The company is rumored to be working on a standalone headset with features like 8K eyepieces and its own operating system, currently dubbed "rOS."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,521member
    What I care for any GPS map app or gadget is when I look for say pizza places while driving than it should bring up map with my moving location and all pizza places with name and dotted direction to these places with distance.So, I know where and which, select one and follow the direction. Remove other unnecessary things from the map
  • Reply 2 of 20
    AR is the new 3DTV.
    All fluff and no real use aside from some niche tools.

    Take a look at that first image above and consider how you would have to hold your phone while walking or driving to make the AR pictured work.
    Absolutely NO ONE will ever hold their phones that way.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    FranculesFrancules Posts: 82member
    A peaceful coexistance. 
  • Reply 4 of 20
    AR is the new 3DTV.
    All fluff and no real use aside from some niche tools.

    Take a look at that first image above and consider how you would have to hold your phone while walking or driving to make the AR pictured work.
    Absolutely NO ONE will ever hold their phones that way.
    It’s interesting that you mention that.  When Apple Watch first came out my wife and I brought them on a trip to San Francisco, a city we were both unfamiliar with.  We used Maps for directions a few times and it was very handy to just glance at the watch when it was telling us to turn or how far we had to go.  While out in public we wanted to keep a relatively low profile so looking at the phone and obviously getting directions from it would have screamed tourist and could have made us a target.  

    While we were there we stopped in at an Apple Store and the Specialist we worked with mentioned to try not having our phones out while on the sidewalk as it wasn’t uncommon for a theif to run by and grab someone’s phone and just keep running.   I don’t know how true that was but it seemed possible and all the more reason to use our watches for directions rather than our phones.

    Maybe we’re just too paranoid but I agree, I probably wouldn’t be using that feature very often while walking.  Perhaps it would be handy mounted to the dashboard in my car but it would have to be high enough for the camera to display a view unobstructed by the interior to really be useful.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 105member, editor
    AR is the new 3DTV.
    All fluff and no real use aside from some niche tools.

    Take a look at that first image above and consider how you would have to hold your phone while walking or driving to make the AR pictured work.
    Absolutely NO ONE will ever hold their phones that way.
    Arguably, this is companies like Google (and Apple) laying the groundwork for future headsets.
    patchythepirateLukeCageHypereality
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Dougie.SDougie.S Posts: 6member

    The company is even experimenting with inserting animated characters such as a fox, which would remove any doubt and make the app more entertaining. 
    Wow... yet another thing to distract drivers from actually paying attention to the road. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    DanielEranDanielEran Posts: 290editor
    VPS was introduced last year, with the idea that it would work for indoor positioning. The example Google gave was navigating a big box retail store. As if people would be following their phone like a divining rod out in front of them. I thought the idea was stupid. 
    ihatescreennameslolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,040member
    VPS was introduced last year, with the idea that it would work for indoor positioning. The example Google gave was navigating a big box retail store. As if people would be following their phone like a divining rod out in front of them. I thought the idea was stupid. 
    Perhaps it has uses for something other than just "a phone". 
    edited May 8
  • Reply 9 of 20
    SuttaDostSuttaDost Posts: 15member
    Well Android phones don't have that problem of someone stealing them.
    edited May 8 lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    roakeroake Posts: 583member
    “Oh, crap!  We’ve gotta beat Apple to the punch!”
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    roakeroake Posts: 583member
    AR technology may also make its way into the rest of the app, for example popping up an information card when looking at a storefront.

    And by “Information Card,” they mean “Advertisement,” probably for those nearby competing stores who pay the most.

    edited May 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 947member
    AR is the new 3DTV.
    All fluff and no real use aside from some niche tools.

    Take a look at that first image above and consider how you would have to hold your phone while walking or driving to make the AR pictured work.
    Absolutely NO ONE will ever hold their phones that way.
    The Glassholes will now they’ve given back that other shoddy AR attempt.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    LukeCageLukeCage Posts: 159member
    Dougie.S said:

    The company is even experimenting with inserting animated characters such as a fox, which would remove any doubt and make the app more entertaining. 
    Wow... yet another thing to distract drivers from actually paying attention to the road. 
    I agree it’s possible but the presenter today used a scenario where the person was walking around looking for a specific place. If push comes to shove google could disable it if you are in a car 
  • Reply 14 of 20
    roakeroake Posts: 583member
    LukeCage said:
    Dougie.S said:

    The company is even experimenting with inserting animated characters such as a fox, which would remove any doubt and make the app more entertaining. 
    Wow... yet another thing to distract drivers from actually paying attention to the road. 
    I agree it’s possible but the presenter today used a scenario where the person was walking around looking for a specific place. If push comes to shove google could disable it if you are in a car 
    “Are you a passenger?”

    ”Yup!”

    ”Here is a cute fox inserted overlayed on top of what you are seeing.  The very interesting, highly relevant ads will follow!  Would you like to see a Pokémon?”
    edited May 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,207member
    VPS was introduced last year, with the idea that it would work for indoor positioning. The example Google gave was navigating a big box retail store. As if people would be following their phone like a divining rod out in front of them. I thought the idea was stupid. 
    Yes, that doesn’t seem all that great a use case.  However, for car navigation, esp automated, it could be pretty good.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 803member
    Am I the only guy here who wants to wait until the Google Maps update is released before judging it?
    gatorguy
  • Reply 17 of 20
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 2,894member
    SuttaDost said:
    Well Android phones don't have that problem of someone stealing them.


    I picture a thief running, grabbing the phone from a tourist and then continuing to run.

    As he runs, he realises it's an Android phone so he runs around the block and throws the phone back at the tourist.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 2,894member
    entropys said:
    VPS was introduced last year, with the idea that it would work for indoor positioning. The example Google gave was navigating a big box retail store. As if people would be following their phone like a divining rod out in front of them. I thought the idea was stupid. 
    Yes, that doesn’t seem all that great a use case.  However, for car navigation, esp automated, it could be pretty good.


    Something that TS mentioned a while back was having this as a smart windshield on a car.

    I think this is the beginning.

  • Reply 19 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,027member
    I don’t think this is such a great idea. 

    Your GPS screen should show the absolute bare minimum of information. It shouldn’t be looking to keep your eyes off the road by showing you a much smaller and less detailed view of what’s in front of you. 

    What they want want to do is project the arrows into the windscreen. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    AR is the new 3DTV.
    All fluff and no real use aside from some niche tools.

    Take a look at that first image above and consider how you would have to hold your phone while walking or driving to make the AR pictured work.
    Absolutely NO ONE will ever hold their phones that way.

    My dashboard phone holder holds my phone in that exact way.
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