Since adding augmented reality features to Google Search and Maps, Google has made them arguably the most useful augmented reality products in its portfolio.
On Tuesday during Google I / O, Google unveiled some of its new AR capabilities for the pair of mobile apps.
In Google Search, you can now view AR animations of athletes such as soccer hero Megan Rapinoe, tennis star Naomi Osaka and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
Now if you search for these athletes through the Google app for iOS and Android (or through Chrome for Android), you can see them perform their famous feats in your personal space.
Meanwhile, Live View, the walking navigation mode for Google Maps, is getting some useful improvements for iOS and Android in the coming months.
Perhaps the most exciting of these enhancements is Live View’s expansion from a hiking navigation tool to an AR X-ray viewer of a traveler’s immediate surroundings, accessible directly from the map view. Using the extensive Street View map library and computer vision, Live View can superimpose information hotspots over neighboring businesses, giving travelers quick access to menus and photos in the camera view.
Later this year, Google will add overlays for street signs and popular landmarks in the camera view. Finally, Google will start launching indoor navigation this week for train stations and airports in Zurich and next month in Tokyo.
AR features in Search and Maps have shown how AR can be useful tools, not just fun toys. During the pandemic, AR content in Search gave families the luxury of seeing virtual animals in their homes to enhance learning at home or preview products before purchasing. The addition of virtual athletes to Search gives sports fans a better view of famous athletes than a front row seat could ever provide.
Meanwhile, Live View has already become indispensable for navigating unknown cities. I personally found it helpful when traveling to Atlanta and Washington DC to determine the correct direction to walk from point A to point B. With its new features, Live View is about to get even better.