The thing about most technology is that when it’s announced it rarely hits the spot for the average user understanding what it’s for or how it could be used.
I would argue Augmented Reality is one such technology.
Trying to explain the concept of virtual things appearing in the real world when viewed through a device is tough.
But often with these technologies it’s about finding the right use-case, and I reckon Google have nailed it with their AR feature in Google Maps.
I came across it while in San Francisco – so I tapped that START AR button!
The concept is really quite simple. The map knows where you are – so when you lift the phone to look at it in front of you, it initiates the camera and asks you to look around.
Using a combination of landmarks and GPS, it shows you which way to go.
An arrow appears on the screen – as if floating in the real world – at any intersections where you need to turn.
Other than the Arrow, you get a market to tell you where the next point is to reach.
What’s really smart here though is that Google have recognised that people staring into their phones isn’t smart.
So you get a warning to put the phone down, and then it just blacks out the screen.
The idea is to look at it at intersections when you need it.
This was really a great exercise – It’s only in ALPHA at the moment, which means it’s still new and buggy.
My only feedback to the Maps team is that it’s often slow to establish where it is – that needs to improve.
Otherwise – I’m ALL IN – Very cool!