In addition to being a fun way to explore the world, Street View helps users get their bearings before visiting a new location. Google Maps is now testing AR-esque place marker overlays that make Street View even more of a wayfinding tool.
Original 6/18: Some users today are encountering the same pins that appear in the overhead Google Maps perspective overlaid on Street View. In the first image below, we see several restaurants/cafes with an orange icon that signifies how it’s a place to eat. Across the street, there’s a blue store marker while further back is a generic location indicator.
Update 6/22: According to Google, these tappable Street View annotations are designed to let users “easily get more information about the places they’re exploring.” It surfaces information for street-level businesses so you can easily access phone numbers and photos. The functionality builds off annotations for museum artwork in 2017, and is rolling out to Google Maps for Android and the web.
Hovering over the bubble reveals a floating box that provides the name, description, rating, review count, and price indicator. Meanwhile, tapping opens the left Google Maps sidebar and the regular listing.
These place marker overlays make Street View much more powerful and useful for browsing as you don’t have to return to the full map for more details. Users can just browse around in Street View and learn by hovering.
It’s somewhat reminiscent of the initial Live View concept that Google demoed at I/O 2018. In addition to directions and streets, the Maps app marked and overlaid additional information about interesting places.
The Google Maps place markers in Street View are not widely rolled out. A reader spotted them on the web in major locations like New York and Boston, but not in smaller cities. We did not encounter it in our testing, or in Google Maps for Android.
More about Google Maps:
- Maps adding square Promoted pins as Search’s Shopping tab gains local store info
- Google Maps testing faster ‘Live View’ AR that doesn’t require starting navigation
- Maps gets new public transit features, ‘Live View’ to expand this year
- Google has mapped 98% of the inhabited Earth, over 10 million miles w/ Street View
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