Google introduces ‘Immersive View’
Initially announced in May last year, Google is finally rolling out its ‘Immersive View for Routes’ feature and plans to cover over 15 cities worldwide by the end of this year. The feature aims to make you feel like you are visiting a particular place without actually being there. It can help you plan a trip, what route to take and even where to find parking.
What is Immersive View?
The feature is designed to enhance your understanding of a place or location, assisting you in planning your visit. Google has used advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and computer vision, specifically 'neural-radiance fields,' to create a 3D model by merging billions of street view and aerial images, including user-submitted photo spheres.
When it comes to Immersive View for routes, it provides a comprehensive overview of real-time information, like bike lanes, sidewalks, and parking availability along the route. You can also access information about air quality, and traffic conditions at intersections.
The AI component is especially useful here as it can estimate the number of cars on the road based on historical traffic patterns, and you can use a time slider to judge the traffic at your preferred time. The slider will also let you see the weather conditions at that particular time making it easier for you to plan ahead.
Once you have done that, you will obviously want to know what the location looks like from the inside. For that, Google will roll out an additional feature called ‘Indoor Live’ once it has enough data to render which will help you explore the place from inside.
Where is it available and how can you use it?
Currently, you can find immersive view on Google Maps in cities like London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. By the end of this year, cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, Miami, Paris, Seattle, San Jose, and Venice will likely get the feature. As for the devices, right now only Android devices get the feature, but soon Apple and desktop users will also be able to use this.
But if you want to check out this feature now, you can do so without physically being in any of these cities. Simply put, look for a landmark in one of the cities, (for example Westminster Abbey in London) and tap on the immersive view section that pops up on the screen. And then you can explore the monument for yourself in full detail.
What does it mean for automotive enthusiasts?
Now you don’t have to imagine rolling down Miami Boulevard or crossing the Tower Bridge in London in your car. You could literally visualise it on immersive view and relive it when you actually go on a road trip through these cities. And in later stages, when more cities get this feature, you can even plan a full-fledged trip on your mobile device. Maybe through a mountain road or something along the sea.