Google Maps is now like Pokémon Go
Google made some pretty cool announcements on the first day of I/O 2018.
A few major Google products have been accorded new AI-based features, such as enabling Assistant to make phone calls. Google has also updated Maps with a nifty feature which uses your phone's camera to make walking navigation easier. It has even made it Pokémon Go-like, with an animal acting as your guide.
Google aims to make navigating while walking easier by combining camera with Street View and Maps. With this, you can use your camera while walking and follow animated directions for navigation. The camera will reflect what's around you, and show exactly where you are walking and which way to walk.
'Just for fun', Google has also added a guide companion in the form of an animal. An animated fox acts as your guide, running in front of you towards the direction you need to take. This feature reminds one of the augmented reality (AR) game Pokémon Go. It also augments a Pokémon on your phone, which looks quite like the animated guide on Google Maps.
On the new Google Maps' navigation system, one-third of the screen will project what's in front using your camera. Down below navigation on Maps will also be visible. Google says that GPS isn't capable of tracking one's real-time position. It instead uses the 'Visual Positioning System' that can estimate the correct position and orientation. This tech uses visual features around you to tell you where you are, and where you need to go.
Google has also announced AI-based personalised features for Maps. The 'Explore' tab on Maps has been redesigned to show recommendations based on the area searched. Maps will show options for dining, events and other activities available around the area you're looking for. Using reviews from local experts, Google's algorithms and trusted publishers Maps will show you the best restaurants to choose from.
Google will also start playing Tinder to show you the restaurant that will best 'match' you. It uses machine learning to narrow down the list of places suited to your tastes by finding more about the restaurants, checking your food and drinks preferences added on Maps, places you've visited, rated or added to a list.
Google Maps also comes with a new feature that lets you add restaurant choices to a list and share it with your group of family and friends. Your group can then vote on the restaurant they wish to visit and even reserve a table for the final place using Maps. Lastly, Google has introduced a new 'For You' tab which shows you updates on the latest that's happening around the areas you're interested in.