Last year, Google revealed an impressive new feature which allows Google Maps users to see an overlay of directions via a camera feed of the real world, showing them exactly where to go. The Wall Street Journal got an opportunity to test an early version of this recently, giving us a small taste of what to expect when it comes to everyone.

You could think of the feature a little bit like the Pokémon GO of navigational apps in terms of how it works. Your camera is turned on and will overlay the appropriate information when it’s pointed in that direction. On top of that, it’ll also display a smaller version of the actual map at the bottom of the screen.

David Pierce of the WSJ says that while this is certainly a great addition to Google Maps, it “isn’t likely to be your primary turn-by-turn option”.

“It was as if Maps had drawn my directions onto the real world, though nobody else could see them,” he continued.

The app won’t let you use the camera view for extended periods, though, encouraging the user to return to the normal maps view after a short time, so it seems like this is a good way to clarify the first few directions or so before continuing on as normal. To be fair, using an AR feature like this would chew through your phone’s battery pretty quick, so I’d say this is a good thing.

The company says the new view “will come to everyone only when Google is satisfied that it’s ready,” but who knows when that will be. In the meantime, they’ll continue testing in the US, with more places to open up soon.

As Pierce notes, the feature will likely be aimed at the AR glasses of the future but will make its debut on smartphones, which makes sense. I think it’ll be especially useful for pointing out the entrances to buildings amongst a street of buildings with little or absolutely no signage. Show me where to enter Google you mad dog.

Source: The Wall Street Journal
Image: The Wall Street Journal