As well as news Dublin is getting immersive for travellers, Google Maps is introducing trip organising tools and better directions.
Having introduced its immersive view tech update in cities like London, Tokyo, San Francisco and New York, Google Maps said it will be available for users in Dublin later this month.
Immersive view is what Google calls its 3D view of these select cities. It uses computer vision and AI to knit together billions of aerial and street images to create a multi-dimensional ‘immersive’ view.
Maps is adding up to 500 new famous landmarks to immersive view, including Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral. Immersive view also has locally specific information such as weather conditions and how busy a place is.
For example, if you are heading to St Patrick’s Cathedral, you can type it into the search field on Google Maps and it will let you see the building and its surroundings. A time slider tool will tell you what the weather will be like and what the queues are like.
Google has also been developing an advanced AI tool called neural radiance fields – or NeRF. This lets users see inside buildings to decide whether they want to go there. The technique is still being developed.
As well as Dublin, Amsterdam, Florence and Venice are to be included in the upcoming update. It was initially launched earlier in the year.
For users of Maps who don’t want detailed, 3D views, Google is also introducing what it calls ‘glanceable directions’, which give people quick pointers on things like the next turn as they are travelling. It includes information that until now was only available in comprehensive navigation mode. The glanceable directions will start being rolled out globally later this month.
The final one of Google’s trio of updates it is releasing is a tool for people who like planning. It enables would-be holiday-makers to organise the list of places they have been looking at on Maps, collecting them into a Recents tab. The desktop tool can automatically gather places a user has been researching into a tab that appears on the left of the screen when Maps is opened.
Users can share their lists with friends and add and remove places to the tab. It will also be possible for people to select a few destinations, click the directions button and generate a custom route in Maps, which can be saved to Recents.
The immersive view, glanceable directions and Recents tab announcements are the latest of Google’s efforts to enhance users’ experience of Maps. During the pandemic, it started featuring information about local Covid-19 cases. Last September, it brought an update to Europe that enables users to opt for more eco-friendly travel routes. Last summer, it brought aerial views of iconic landmarks to Maps users, among other travel-related updates.
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