Google Maps’ Immersive View makes it “feel like you’re right there” before you go

[Google recently announced a new Immersive View mode for Google Maps, as reported in the story below by The Verge. Ars Technica includes some interesting details in its coverage:

“For most uses, Google Maps is a flat, 2D app, and if your device can handle more graphics and a bit more data, you can fire up the Google Earth 3D data set and get 3D buildings. At Google I/O Google has announced a new level that turns the graphics slider way, way up on Google Maps: Immersive View. When exploring an area in Google Maps, the company says Immersive View will make it ’feel like you’re right there before you ever set foot inside.’

The video for this feature is wild. It basically turns Google Maps into a 3D version of SimCity with AAA video game graphics. There are simulated cars that drive through the roads, and birds fly through the sky. Clouds pass overhead and cast shadows on the world. The weather is simulated, and water has realistic reflections that change with the camera. London even has an animated Ferris wheel that spins around.

Google can’t possibly be tracking things like the individual positions of birds (yet!), but a lot of this is real data. The cars represent the current traffic levels on a given street. The weather represents the actual weather, even for historical data. The sun moves in real time with the time of day.”

And ExtremeTech adds this:

“Being able to see the current traffic at a location with actual cars on the road instead of just a red line in 2D mode is pretty slick. The big change here is nothing is static anymore, and the areas look just like a livestream view. It does seem more immersive.”

You can watch the 1:26 minute video from Google I/O 2022 via the original versions of these stories, or on YouTube. –Matthew]

Google Maps’ new ‘Immersive View’ combines Street View with satellites

So you can see how crowded the park is before you even go

By David Pierce
May 11, 2022

Google launched a new mode for Maps on Wednesday, designed to give users a more real-life look at the places they’re going before they even go. The new Immersive View is sort of a Street View in the sky: you can look over a location from above to get a sense of the neighborhood and then drop to street level to see the specific spots you might want to hit up. Maps overlays its live busyness and traffic info, so you get a quasi-augmented reality look at whatever park or street corner or beach spot you’re looking at.

The images behind Immersive View are all computer-generated, a combination of Google’s satellite captures and its Street View shots. As you move through them, it looks like playing a video game on medium graphics set in a precisely scaled real world. “We’re able to fuse those together,” says Liz Reid, a VP of engineering at Google, “so that we can actually understand, okay, these are the heights of the buildings. How do we combine that with Street View? How do we combine it with aerial view to make something that feels much more like you were there?”

Reid described the feature as offering the magic of Google Earth’s massive zoom but on a neighborhood level. And she said Google’s been working on it for a while. “It’s a thing where we had demos years ago, and it was like, ‘oh, here’s the thing,’ but it didn’t really work. Now the technology has come a long way into making it feel pretty natural.”

Immersive View works on most devices, Reid said, but so far only works in a few neighborhoods in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. More are coming soon.

As it pushes on making Maps a more live, 3D experience, it’s also opening some of that experience up to the app ecosystem. Third-party developers can now tap into the Live View AR feature of Maps, which essentially gives them super precise location tracking in the real world and an AR layer on top. Google’s working with developers on apps that help you find a place to park your scooter, or help you navigate stadiums, or just let you play AR games with dragons in the real world.

Google Maps is really no longer just an app for getting from place to place. It’s increasingly turning into a digitalized version of the real world, which could have huge implications as AR gets bigger and as Google shifts its focus from crawling the web to crawling the Earth. And, with Immersive View in particular, it’s starting to be obvious how much Google can do with all the data it has.

This entry was posted in Presence in the News. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Find Researchers

    Use the links below to find researchers listed alphabetically by the first letter of their last name.

    A | B | C | D | E | F| G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z