As useful as it is, Google Maps is no longer the only map app with augmented reality walking navigation.
This week, Israeli startup Moovit introduced a new AR navigation feature called Way Finder for its eponymous navigation app. for public transport and journey services. Way Finder has been launched as a beta version and helps users find bus stops and subway station entrances, as well as route guidance to those destinations.
The feature is immediately rolled out to the iOS version of Moovit.
To use, Moovit users must activate the function under Settings and then the Labs section. The feature can then be accessed in Live Directions by tapping the blue Way Finder button and holding the phone up to view your immediate surroundings.
Similar to Live View in Google Maps, Way Finder in Moovit shows both live camera display with icons about the physical environment as a traditional map display on the lower half of the screen.
The origin of the function, according to the company, came from user feedback, where a user asked for a method to determine on which side of the street a bus stop could be at different locations. The developers of Moovit then started making the feature during an internal hackathon in July 2019.
Competitor Google Maps, however, does not rest on its laurels. As part of the 15th anniversary of for Google Maps, Google has given a taste of some new features that are currently being tested for the Live View AR walking navigation feature.
Live View provides the distance and direction for destinations with overlays in augmented reality within a few months.
I personally found the Live View function, first released as a preview to Local Guides and then to Pixel owners, very useful in unknown cities, namely during recent trips to Atlanta and Washington, DC. However, the feature has recently disappeared on Pixel devices.
Hopefully, strong competition from people like Moovit and others will encourage Google to bring Live View back sooner rather than later.