Google on Wednesday outlined a range of ways it’s using AI to improve Maps. For example, it uses computer vision and other forms of AI to merge billions of Street View and aerial images – granting a rich “immersive view” of the world.
The new immersive view feature gives users a detailed and up-close view of locations, including indoor venues such as restaurants or event venues. With Google Maps information overlaid, a user can use the time slider to check what an area looks like at different times of the day and in various weather conditions. It can give insight into how busy a place is at certain times of the day or about traffic nearby.
Immersive View will work on most phones and devices, Google said. It’s starting to come to Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year, with other cities to come.
Meanwhile, Google is adding green routing options to Google Flights. Google users can already find eco-friendly routes for driving in Maps, giving them routes that aren’t necessarily the shortest way from point A to point B, but should result in the least carbon emissions . Now people looking for flights will be able to find carbon estimates alongside other information such as price and schedule.
Eco-Routing launched in Maps last year in the US and Canada, and people have already used it to travel 86 billion miles. This saved around half a million tonnes of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road. Now Google is expanding the feature to Europe and other locations.
“These small decisions have a big impact on a large scale,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, during the Google I/O keynote.
Finally, Google announced that it is making its Live View available for free to third-party app developers through a new ARCore geospatial API.
Live View helps Maps users find their way around places, using AR to show arrows and directions. Companies already using the new API include shared electric vehicle company Lime. He is piloting the API in London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Madrid, San Diego and Bordeaux to help cyclists park their electric bikes and scooters responsibly and out of the way of pedestrians.