Google I/O 2022 - Google Maps Highlights

With the recent I/O 2022, Google announced a wide array of new tech and software updates and releases. This year had a big focus on Google’s new Pixel hardware, but this didn’t mean that we were robbed of news about the Google Maps platform, and we have prepared a quick recap of the three prominent Google Maps updates announced from the event.

Google Maps Immersive view

One of the key Google Mape updates announced at Google I/O was the soon-to-be-introduced “Immersive view” function. Immersive view takes the Google Maps experience as we know it to a new dimension and helps users to explore new places with much more detail than before.

Thanks to AI and advances in computer vision, Google Maps has succeeded with fusing together Street View and aerial images to create a digital model of the world. Imagine you’re traveling to a new city, but you’re unsure which neighborhood would be better to stay in. With the immersive view, it’s easy to get an overview of different parts of the city and get a feel of the vibe. But it’s not just an overview of the city - the immersive view experience lets you zoom in to reach street level and explore the busyness of a specific place, check the nearby traffic, and even get a look at what it looks like inside. Getting familiar with the feel of a new location has never been easier and the update even lets you view what the city looks like in different weather conditions. 

Immersive view will start rolling out later this year in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo, with more cities to come.



Eco-friendly routes expansion 

Last year, Google Maps announced the release of eco-friendly routes, to take a step towards becoming a greener choice. The update meant that Google Maps now suggests eco-friendly routes as a default choice unless the user manually opts out - and with 95% of users never changing the default settings of apps, it is already widely spread. 

While the announcement on eco-friendly routes itself wasn’t exactly big news, so was the news that the feature is now being expanded to Europe later this year. Google itself estimates that the feature has saved more than half a million metric tons of carbon emissions, an equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the roads. And with the European expansion, Google expects to double this by the end of 2022. 


Third-party apps to use Live View

Most users of Google Maps are familiar with the Live View function that thanks to AR helps you find your way when walking around. And the feature now becomes available to developers with the new ARCore Geospatial API. This means that developers now get access to global localization that has been powering Live View since 2019, to be able to build richer, immersive, and interactive experiences with Google Maps.

To help developers get started and play around with the new function, Google has released two open source demo apps to clone and extend into their own applications.

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(Image credit: Google)

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