Remember the photorealistic Google Maps "immersive view" we saw at Google I/O 2022? It's coming to your iPhone or Android phone. Or at least, some of it is. The tech, which uses 3D mapping and machine learning to create realistic 3D images from millions of photos, is now available for around 100 landmarks in cities around the world including London, Barcelona, New York and Tokyo.
It's not quite the full immersive view just yet – that'll start rolling out for LA, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year, Google says – but it's still pretty impressive, if a bit similar to Apple's Flyover mode. And it's not the only new feature rolling out to Google Maps on your iPhone or Android.
New features for Google Maps on iOS and Android
There are some very worthwhile improvements in the Google Maps app for two-wheeled travellers: your route will now warn you about steps, steep hills and whether your proposed route is likely to be traffic-heavy, and it'll also tell you whether a road is a major or minor one. Those updates aren't available today, but they'll be coming in the next few weeks.
One of the most useful new features in Google Maps is location sharing, which is now considerably smarter. If someone chooses to, they can share their location with you so you'll be automatically notified when they arrive or leave that location. That's a useful feature for those of us who want to know friends or family have made it safely to their destination or if it's time to pick them up.
The new location notifications are rolling out now and should arrive imminently on both iOS and Android versions of the Google Maps app.
Personally, I'm excited by the immersive view we'll start to see later this year. It's a staggering technological achievement, and because it all runs on Google's cloud you don't need to have hefty hardware to experience it. And more practically Maps will also be getting more eco-friendly routing options in Europe in the coming months; the feature is already available in the US and Canada but will be rolling out to more places this year.