At Google I/O 2022 Google is continuing to announce new features to their products and services with some relatively significant changes coming to Maps, Google Wallet, Matter and Cast (and Chromecast) in 2022.

A new immersive view in Maps

Google has fused together billions of Street View and aerial images to create a new digital view of the world in maps — the all-new immersive view. The immersive view is designed to help you experience what a neighbourhood, landmark, restaurant, or popular venue is like, without ever visiting there. The idea is to help you make an even more informed decision about a location before you go there.

Google showed off the new immersive view in London showing the user able to “soar” over the neighbourhood and view various landmarks up close, along with restaurants. You can then zoom into a restaurant and check out what it looks like inside and view the menu, user reviews and more. Immersive view will work on “just about any phone and device”, rolling out in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year with more cities “coming soon”.

Google is also now rolling out their eco-friendly routing in Maps to more countries allowing you to choose the most fuel-efficient route when navigating in your car. At this stage it is unclear whether it will come to Australia just yet but given our petrol prices we certainly hope it does soon.

A new Google Wallet

The last couple of years has seen us use our digital wallets for things other than credit cards and Google is updating Google Wallet to expand the options even further.

The new Wallet will standardise the way we save and access items we load into it – items such as credit cards, transit cards, event tickets, boarding and loyalty passes and even student cards.  The new Wallet will be launching on Wear OS with support for payment cards only at this stage.

Other cards and passes coming to Wallet include hotel keys, office badges, and digital driver’s licences and IDs.  The digital driver’s licences will be rolling out to “international partners” later this year and at this stage it is unclear whether this will include Australia (hopefully Victoria at least given our lack of a digital licence solution at this stage).

Google’s focus on security and privacy at I/O this year extends to Wallet with new granular privacy controls allowing you to decide the level of privacy you want for your Wallet.  Wallet will also now include better app integration with other Google apps allowing such things as your transit card showing up (along with its balance) in Google Maps when you search for directions.  You will be able to easily tap and add fare/money to your card at the station using this integration.

Matter is coming to Android

The smart home has been a focus for Google for a while now, and more recently Matter – the new IP-based protocol for smart device connectivity.  Now this new protocol will be built into Android to allow you to use Fast Pair to quickly and seamlessly connect your Matter-enabled smart home devices to your network, Google Home or other apps.  Matter partners include Eve, Yale and Philips Hue but be on the lookout for this to expand in the coming years.

Starting this fall, we’ll introduce built-in support for Matter on Android, so you can use Fast Pair to quickly connect Matter-enabled smart home devices to your network, Google Home and other accompanying apps in just a few taps. Whether you’re updating your current setup or building a new smart home network, consider light bulbs, thermostats and plugs from supported Matter brands like Eve, Yale and Philips Hue.

Google TV App now supports casting

Chromecast built-in allows you to easily share audio, photo and video media to supported devices such as speakers, displays and TVs.  The Google TV app now includes the ability to cast shows and movies from your device to your TV – which was a glaring omission when the Google Play Movies app became the Google TV app.  Google will be expanding this support to Chromebooks and cars with Google built-in (only while parked or charging – anyone own a Polestar 2?) to allow you to watch your content on various devices with seamless casting from one device to another.