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If you own a Pixel phone, you can now use Google Maps’ new AR directions

This is literally the best thing to ever happen to Google Maps.

google maps ar preview
Image: Android Central

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Augmented reality walking directions for Google Maps was shown off last year at Google’s I/O developers conference, but only a very small number of users could actually use it. Announced at 2019’s I/O developers conference, the AR walking directions feature is now coming to all Pixel phones, starting today.

That’s still a small number of users to be fair, as the Pixel line is only sold through the Google Store and two carriers in the US currently. Still, the ability to have real-time navigation overlaid on your surroundings is a wonderful thing. Once the stuff of movies or books, the meshing of the virtual and the real to add directions or context is a real time-saver.

No more stumbling out of a darkened subway station only to wonder which direction to go, or if you took the wrong street exit. Now you’ll get street names, directions to travel, and distances to the next turning, all in your camera’s field of vision.

Maybe you could even hang it around your neck, with Google Assistant reading out the turns for you. Certainly beats the heck out of glancing at Google Maps every block.

Here’s a quick demo on how Google Maps’ new AR directions work

With directions getting the AR overlay treatment, I’d love to see Google add other snippets of information to the view. Perhaps tourist spots or well-reviewed restaurants, or even a version of Waze for pedestrians. It’s a shame that Google Glass was eventually a failed experiment, the new Google Maps AR overlay would have been a perfect use of the hardware.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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