Earlier this year, Google announced a new “Planning View” feature for Google Maps. Using the power of artificial intelligence, the tool takes flat images and creates 3D images of landmarks, restaurants and specific buildings. This gives users a better idea of what to expect on this site.
Now this offering is rolling out and should be available to users soon.
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Starting this week, new 3D views of 15 cities will be available for driving, walking and cycling, allowing users to prepare with a fresh look at step-by-step instructions. Instead of the traditional satellite view or Google Street View, there is now a combination of the two in the form of a 3D image showing the entire route.
The cities included are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tokyo and Venice.
If you want to plan ahead, there’s a slider to see the route at different times of the day and with the forecast weather – all powered by AI. This feature is somewhat similar to Google Street View, but because it relies on a combination of several different types of images, the new view is newer and more customizable.
Google is also adding some features to help Maps work like universal search. Now, instead of searching for a specific place or address on Maps, users can try more general search queries like “art stuff nearby” or “cafés with latte art nearby.” The former will display local attractions categorized on a scrollable carousel, while the latter will actually search through user-uploaded photos to find that type of thing and show where those photos were taken as pins on a map.
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To use this feature, head to the Google Maps app on Android or iOS, search for a location in one of the available cities, and tap the “View pan” button to get started.
Additionally, “Lens in Maps” augmented reality search is available in more than 50 new cities. With this feature (previously available in a more limited format and called “Search with Live View”), you can quickly glance at your surroundings by tapping the lens icon in the search bar and raising your phone to look around. If you’re in a supported location, you’ll see ATMs, bus or train stations, stores, restaurants, cafes, and more.