Tracy Watson 22/08/2019 #Popular #AR 8 min read Everyone who likes to travel knows how frustrating it can be to come to a new city and to find your hotel, a place to eat and the local landmarks. Even though you may have a map on your smartphone, it can still be difficult to navigate since the map is two-dimensional. Fortunately, researchers at Google have developed a new augmented reality map that will help you get around town. Let’s take a closer look at Google AR maps so we can see how big of a leap was made.Google Maps Augmented RealityThe new maps use your smartphone’s camera to identify your location and then provide you with the direction where you need to go. However, unlike the regular Google Maps that you are used to, this one is more interactive. When you hold the phone vertically at eye level, the screen will show a real-life representation of your surroundings with arrows telling you in which direction you need to go and where to turn. The old two-dimensional map will still be available, but it will shrink to a small circle on the bottom of the screen.Interestingly enough, if you hold the phone vertically in front of you, for too long, you will receive an alert saying that it is not safe to look at your phone while you are walking. According to Google, this is precisely the way they intended the new maps to be used. They want people to open it only where they are confused in terms of where they are, instead of all the time. These confusion moments are when you are exiting the metro or other transportation when you are about to arrive at your destination and at other moments when you have to make a choice as far as the route is concerned. By the way, it is almost impossible to miss your destination because as soon as you are within a certain distance, a fun yet big animated pin-point sign pops out alerting you that you have arrived.Another reason this is such a great development of augmented reality is that the application takes in all of the information about your surroundings and determines your location. This is very useful when you are in a foreign city because sometimes there are no signs that tell you what street you are on or everything is in a foreign language. With the new AR maps, all you would have to do is point the camera at a permanent structure such as a monument or a café, and Google will take care of the rest. This way, the app takes a lot of stress off your shoulders so you can enjoy your vacation or business trip.This cool new app is currently available on Google’s Pixel smartphones as well as iOS and Android devices.An App That’s of Use to EverybodySome of the AR apps on the market today are meant for a specific segment of consumers. For example, the apps that allow you to place bunny ears on photos will not be of use everybody. However, at some point in time, we all have to find a building or location that we have never been to. Even if it is located in the city you currently live, it is not possible to know the location of every single office building, landmarks or regular residences. We all rely on a GPS to get us from Point A to Point B even if it something other than Google Maps. The point is that once companies see that there is a wide demand for more interactive navigation, they will follow suit.In addition to the new AR maps, there is also the virtual reality Google Maps. If you enjoy watching something from a bird’s eye view, you will definitely like the new Google Earth VR. Imagine you are trying to decide where to go for your next trip or deciding on the route to take. You can use regular still images to observe the location, but the VR experience from Google will simply take your breath away. If you have a VR headset like a Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift, you can walk the streets of pretty much any city. No other experience will immerse you whatever content you would like to study like VR, which is why most of the AR/VR companies from DesignRush list are rushing to harness the technology.Augmented Reality is Becoming MainstreamThe AR Google Maps that we looked at gives us a glimpse into the potentials of augmented reality. When Pokémon Go burst on the scene and proved that there is a huge demand for AR, nobody fully comprehended all of the possible uses and capabilities. Nowadays, AR is not just for video games and taking pictures. It has become an important part of companies’ business model because it provides customers with a tailored experience, thus allowing brands to build long-lasting relationships with their clients. This has also become one of the main ways businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering their customers an experience nobody else can provide.Therefore, if you have not started using AR/VR to attract new customers, you are missing out on a huge business opportunity. Companies are competing for the same group of customers, and if you are not using AR to attract them, you can bet your competitors are.