The route is now completely mapped out for Google Maps

Today, geolocation is everywhere! Between dating apps, VTC companies, GPS and games inspired by the best known cartoons…everyone is using geolocation! And all the more so since the introduction of smartphones.

Google Maps, the leader in navigation systems, is breaking new ground these days with a concept that is, to say the least, unexpected.

3D Navigation

At, we’re sure this invention will be a huge public success, especially for those who have no sense of direction! No more wrong turns, and you’ll no longer be guided by a voice. Like Tom Thumb, you’ll only have to follow the visible directions of the Google Maps app to find your way.

This pedestrian-only app relies on various existing software programs developed by Google. Google takes no risks here, and is simply developing the networking of its systems:

  • AR GPS is now integrated into Google Maps walking navigation to geolocate the user.
  • Google Street View recognizes previously mapped locations to offer a realistic 3D map on smartphones.

Your phone’s camera plays an important role in the process. In fact, researchers very quickly asked themselves the question of how to show the route. And the solution was very quickly found: by using the camera.

Indeed, the back camera allows you to capture images of surrounding areas in real time. To use this solution, a working camera is needed.

Once the camera is engaged, your screen will display what the camera sees, along with virtual information (arrows, street names, etc.).


An inconclusive crash test

Our colleagues at 20 Minutes tested this app and noticed two rather significant issues. The first lies in the lack of uniformity of Google Street View.

If the software doesn’t have a recorded map of your location, you’re unlikely to have a suitable route displayed on the screen.

The second issue has to do with the use of this app and battery consumption, a tricky question that can only be determined under real-life conditions. This app will perhaps be used only sparingly by users…

An innovation for the.most privileged?

Google Maps AR deserves credit for proposing a useful solution which improves accessibility. However, many people will be disappointed because only Pixel smartphones will be the first to have this new innovation. Google could perhaps be accused of nepotism, but the company prefers to just play it “smart” by keeping this innovation close to their vest.

Today, augmented reality is no longer in test phase. Even better, Google is hoping to very soon deploy Google Maps AR on Android smartphones.


Augmented reality: everyone’s business, but not everywhere

Something else that could lead to controversy: this tool won’t be available everywhere. Although useful, Google prefers to invest in big cities where the number of users are greater than in lesser populated areas.

We can easily understand, even though we may disapprove of the firm’s lack of ethics. Indeed, if this technology is accessible from smartphones, it would be a shame to create inequalities that aren’t adversely affected by technological dead zones.

But it’s all about business at Google, and the next cities expected to receive this new development remain the most attractive ones, such as Paris, London and New York.


If today, our phone can tell us the best way to get from point A to point B, we can certainly dream of an intelligent smartphone that can soon tell us, according to our route, which nearby stores sell items in our size and/or with discounts.

Or Google Maps could also sync itself with our calendars and “To Do” lists to remind us to stop at the dry cleaners or that it’s our great-aunt’s birthday.

So what can you say to those who think that augmented reality only increases our dependence? You can’t stop progress!


 To read: Pokemon Go, Harry Potter and more: fiction in augmented reality