At Google I/O 2022, the company unveiled improvements for Google Maps including a new “immersive view” of select cities and the ability to use Live View’s AR in third-party apps.

For years, Google Maps has offered Street View as a handy way to get to know a particular part of the world without necessarily having to go visit there yourself. Having spent years cataloging images of the world, Google is merging Street View and aerial shots together to craft a “rich, digital model of the world” in what they’re calling “immersive view.”

Google Maps immersive view combines picturesque views of a city and its landmarks, suggestions of places to learn about or visit, and views of the insides of some buildings. You can even see alternate views of certain areas, such as at night, in bad weather, or in busy conditions.

This immersive view will be overlaid with the usual helpful features of Maps like busyness levels and traffic indicators, and it’s all arriving in Google Maps for phones and devices of all sorts. The only limitation for now is what cities can be browsed, with things kicking off later this year with Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.

Meanwhile, once you actually get into the city, Google Maps’ AR-powered Live View has served as a handy way to use landmarks to find where you are and navigate precisely where you need to be. Today, Google is opening up the possibilities of Live View to more apps through the new ARCore Geospatial API.

Already, some apps will begin using these APIs to create powerful and delightful new experiences. For Lime, the shared bike/scooter service, in select cities you can use your camera to prove you’ve found safe and responsible parking.

Marvel Stadium in Melbourne is test driving using your camera and your event ticket to navigate to your seat. And kaiju fans, DOCOMO and Curiosity have created a game that lets you protect iconic Tokyo landmarks from AR dragons.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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