Google Maps’ coolest new feature becomes more useful to Android and iOS users

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Last year, Google Maps tested a beta version of what it calls AR Live Mode that uses augmented reality to layer the Maps UI over a real-time image from your phone’s front-facing camera. The result is navigation for those-perhaps yourself-who enjoy getting around by walking around a city. The mode points out landmarks, how far they are from you, and how to get there. For example, if you’re walking through the Big Apple and happen to find yourself in Midtown Manhattan, you might see some information in AR Live Mode directing you to the Empire State Building.
Google posted a blog today in which it says that the landmarks highlighted in Live View include well-known places, like local parks and tourist attractions. Besides the Empire State Building in New York, other noteworthy places include the Pantheon in Rome. 25 cities worldwide will soon have their Landmarks available to be viewed using Live View. Those cities include Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Dubai, Florence, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Kyoto, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Osaka, Paris, Prague, Rome, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo, and Vienna.

Live View can be accessed by tapping on the button of the same name when looking up a place on Google Maps. It now can be used on the transit tab if part of your journey includes walking. Google points out that this is useful when you exit a transit station but don’t know which way to go once out of the station.

Google also announced today that the Live View feature that previously was added to Location Sharing for Pixel users will soon be available to all Android and iOS users worldwide. Google explained this in today’s blog by noting that if a friend has chosen to share their location, you can tap on his icon and then on Live View to see where and how far away he is. Overlaid arrows and other directions make it easy to figure out how to get to where your friend is.
Lastly, in Live View, using Machine Learning and Google’s understanding of the world’s topography, Google can more accurately place a destination pin. In the accompanying images you can see how much closer Lombard Street in San Francisco appears when using Live View.

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