Google is launching its AR walking directions this week—but only for Pixel handsets. At this week’s I/O event, Google declared that it was rolling out a preview in Google Maps for AR walking directions, something it has only provided limited tests of so far. The function provides real-time navigation via your handset’s camera: you can hold it up to view directions and arrows overlaid on your background. It is available for older Pixel phones as well as the Pixel 3A.
Media first became aware of this feature at 2018 I/O, and it has seen restricted tests of its abilities. As per media reports, it is not meant to be your major navigation technique. But it can get you oriented in the correct direction if you are getting off a train or bus, for example.
Google had earlier claimed that it might launch AR walking directions when it was “pleased” the functionality was ready. We are still clearly not witnessing a complete launch here—but the function will lastly be receiving a public test run.
On a related note, Actions by Google Assistant are about to turn out to be definitely more helpful in everyday life. Google has extended the reach of App Action to provide shortcuts for finance, health, ridesharing, and food. You can pay a friend for dinner, tell your fitness application to begin tracking a run, or order your favorite food without having to go via their individual apps first.
You will also find various Actions updates targeted at the smart home. A preview allows device manufacturers run their smart home code domestically on Google’s Nest displays and Home speakers, assisting devices both respond more reliably and sooner. Another preview will offer “full-screen experiences” that mix touch and audiovisual. The simple smart home setup by Google is extending to more associates, as well.