Google Maps AR: What we want to see

Google just reinvented how we navigate our way around unfamiliar places. It's called Google Maps AR and it's solves all sorts of problems we currently experience when travelling with a GPS.

You key in your destination, but instead of looking down at your screen, AR Maps is activated when you hold your phone up, as if to take a photo. AR Maps kicks in with a new street view mode, activating the camera and superimposes massive arrows and banners screen to direct you to your end point.

If the Business Insider's first-hand experience is representative, twirling around flipping your device to calibrate your position a thing of history. The app is able to process real-time footage quick enough to give you instant directions – you won't find yourself wandering aimlessly before Maps recalibrates and directs you another way. It's certainly a step in the right direction.

It certainly holds great promise, but it's still a while till Google releases it for the masses, so here's a list of ideas that really show the potential of the AR Maps technology. It may be wishful thinking, but hey, it's still in development.

Tourism Mode

Google Maps is a must-have if you're on tour or exploring somewhere new, which is why a tourism, or exploration mode could be a great idea. Here's the pitch:

A toggle on the AR Maps that enables recommendations and interesting facts about the area and buildings you walk by to pop up on the display. It would make a handy tour guide and the app even more engaging.

We know, you've probably got alarms sounding off in your head – it's an advertising bait. Brands are going to want their ads popping up all over AR Maps. But if you're out shopping anyway, who wouldn't mind a sick deal appearing on your screen. We suggest placing this in a second toggle just to enable ads and promotions. This could radically change advertising for high streets all over the world.

Really quick calibration

You know that silly ritual of exiting a building or the subway, whipping out maps and having to swirl your phone around for a while just for Maps to calibrate? Or worse, make actual twirls yourself like a ballerina thinking that's going to help with tuning?

Yes, we don't want that anymore, but unless Google really cleans calibration on AR Maps, it could be a lot worse. Imagine the graphical issues AR Maps could face if calibration takes its time; directional arrows pointing to walls or mistaking roads as buildings. There's a whole list of memes waiting to be created.

For AR Maps to really take off, it needs to be reliable, and also not make us look silly.


Despite prompts instructing users to focus on the path, users are still inevitably going to be spending considerable amounts of time trudging along, taking reference from their little screens. This puts them in danger as it drastically reduces our awareness to our surroundings, which may cause us to ignore road signs, traffic lights or incoming traffic. This could be fatal.

AR Maps needs to be built with this in mind, ideally informing users when there is a crossing ahead, and to put their phones down and check for traffic. Safety first.

Give it to the world: Open-source

Just imagine if third-party developers could get their hands on AR Maps' technology and incorporate it with their own apps and tech.

We're talking a whole new wave of AR gaming where developers can bring players out and about and interact with real-world surroundings. Education apps could also be made more immersive, not to mention travel apps and shopping apps. There's so much potential here.

Google Maps is doing already offering this, go on Google!

Innovating with all our precious data

And should all of this take off and bring Google even more success, we can only expect its AR technology and mapping to improve leaps and bounds.

After all, this is a lot of information we are offering Google. Our cameras will be constantly active, providing real-time updates and images of areas previously unmapped by the search engine. This is gold-mine data that we would hope to see being used to enhance the tech we already have, and lead to crazier innovations to make life easier.

Footage of all the nooks and crannies of obscure cities and towns should help the accuracy of Maps for even better AI-smarts and faster calibration while we're driving. The reality of 360-degree views of specific locations could also become more of a reality now that Google can receive an endless stream of images of places around the world.

These are just some of the hopes and innovations right at our doorstep that we hope Google pursues with all our data and footage. After all, in today's age of digital paranoia, giving any company this much data would be quite the leap of faith.