Google Maps raises the bar

Google Maps blog:

Sixteen years ago, many of us held a printout of directions in one hand and the steering wheel in the other to get around— without information about the traffic along your route or details about when your favorite restaurant was open.

Jarring to watch a movie or TV show where a character peers at a paper map or, for a brief slice of time, makes their way through a list of MapQuest turn-by-turn directions.

This year, we’re on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps so you can get the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it. Here’s a snapshot of how we’re using AI to make Maps work better for you with a number of updates coming this year.

A notable feature here is Live View, to make it much easier to navigate indoors, say, in a mall:

We all know that awkward moment when you’re walking in the opposite direction of where you want to go — Live View uses AR cues to avoid just that. Live View is powered by a technology called global localization, which uses AI to scan tens of billions of Street View images to understand your orientation. Thanks to new advancements that help us understand the precise altitude and placement of objects inside a building, we’re now able to bring Live View to some of the trickiest-to-navigate places indoors: airports, transit stations and malls.

Check out that first animated image to get a sense of this.

Read the whole post. Google Maps is raising the bar.