AI-powered Google Maps' immersive view now available for a select few

It even allows you to see the weather.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Downtown San Francisco aerial view of skyscrapers
Downtown San Francisco aerial view of skyscrapers


A few select users will now be able to enjoy Google Maps' immersive view, according to a blog by the company published last month. The new feature is meant to allow users to reimagine how they explore and navigate, while helping them make more sustainable choices. 

“Immersive view is an entirely new way to explore a place — letting you feel like you’re right there, even before you visit. Using advances in AI and computer vision, immersive view fuses billions of Street View and aerial images to create a rich, digital model of the world. And it layers helpful information on top like the weather, traffic, and how busy a place is,” said Chris Phillips, VP & General Manager, Geo, in the blog.

The novel feature makes use of neural radiance fields (NeRF), an advanced AI technique that transforms ordinary pictures into 3D representations. 

“With NeRF, we can accurately recreate the full context of a place including its lighting, the texture of materials and what’s in the background. All of this allows you to see if a bar’s moody lighting is the right vibe for a date night or if the views at a cafe make it the ideal spot for lunch with friends,” continued Phillips.

Google said last month that immersive view was “rolling out now” for London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. However, few people had actually seen the feature show up into their Google Maps app until now.

A Reddit user who goes by u/Vegetable_Book_8493 posted a thread indicating he got access earlier this week. However, some features like moving cars were not included.

Experiencing the weather

Immersive views also allows users to experience the weather of the day by scrolling through a time slider found at the bottom of the app. The time slider will also indicate when the busiest times are at an attraction so you don’t visit when it’s too crowded.

But that’s not all!

“Search with Live View uses AI and augmented reality to help you find things around you — like ATMs, restaurants, parks and transit stations — just by lifting your phone while you’re on the street. You can see helpful information, like when a place is open, if it’s busy right now, and how highly it’s rated – so you can make an informed decision and maximize your time,” added Phillips.

With this many new features, the new Google Maps option is bound to be popular. Now, it’s just a question of when it will be available to all. 

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