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Google Maps is about to give the brilliant Live View navigation pride of place

Have you ever used Live View in Google Maps? It’s a really handy feature that taps into your camera and gives you AR directions, but it appears that not a lot of people know about it. Google is now on a mission to change that.

Live View launched last year, and it has the potential to dramatically change how you use Google Maps. Unfortunately though, Google hasn’t done the best job of pushing it to users.

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According to 9to5Google, the company is currently looking at ways to make Live View much more prominent.

For some users, a new Live View floating action button, marked by a pin, has started appearing on-screen after they’ve searched for or selected a destination.

Hitting the pin launches the Live View feature, which relies on your camera and, therefore, requires you to hold your phone up vertically, so that Maps can analyse and (hopefully recognise) your immediate surroundings, and show you exactly where you should walk.

Image Credit: 9to5Google

Furthermore, in the test the miniature circular map that usually appears at the bottom of the screen in Live View mode is being replaced with a much simpler card.

If you’ve never tried Live View before, I couldn’t recommend it enough. With the feature on, there’s no chance of walking down an unfamiliar street in the wrong direction for five minutes, because Google Maps’ blue dot was momentarily pointing the wrong way. The AR directions will simply lead the way.

As Aparna Chennapragada, the VP for Google Lens and AR, said at its original unveiling: “Let me paint a familiar picture. You exit the subway, you’re already running late for an appointment − or a tech company conference. That happens. And then your phone says ‘Head south on Market Street’.

“So what do you do? One problem − you have no idea which way is south. So you look down at the phone, you’re looking at that blue dot on the map, and you start to walk to see if it’s moving in the same direction. If it’s not, you’re turning around. We’ve all been there.”

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However, Live View is limited to Android devices that support ARCore and iPhones that support ARKit. You can view a (not quite up to date) list of compatible devices here.

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