Google's Rachel Inman, who works on the user experience for the new feature, said the company hopes to make it easier to switch between the two-dimensional map on the phone and the three-dimensional world around you.
"We all had the experience of coming up from the subway and going half way or one full block in the wrong direction, and were really annoyed when we had to turn around and go the way we really wanted. "She told CNN Business a real demonstration of the San Francisco feature on Monday.
As the feature is still in the early stages of user testing, Google still has some issues. I noticed, for example, that the AR pictures in the app did not work several times when I went to the cafe.
But if I was in a new city, I could save time if I talk about the direction ̵
Google said that the feature is only offered to a small group of people who frequently use and contribute to Google Maps. The company does not say when it will be widely available.
"We're learning a lot, that's still very early," warned Marek Gorecki, an engineer for Google Maps.
One reason the technology needs time to perfect is that even now it's difficult to reliably find where you are and in which direction you are on a smart-phone card.
Typically, a smartphone uses its built-in GPS receiver and compass to determine your location and which direction you are in a map app. However, this can be difficult in crowded cities. GPS relies on a line-of-sight connection to relay radio signals from distant satellites to your phone, so tall buildings can make it difficult to find out exactly where you are. The compass can also be dropped in urban areas, as magnetic objects such as metal in buildings, cars, buses and urban infrastructure – such as light poles – abound.
Once Google Maps has a clearer picture of it Wherever you are, virtual images can be placed over the smartphone's camera. They look more like they are integrated into reality – something that companies have been putting into smartphone apps long before AR.
Google is currently trying to keep these pictures simple. A previous prototype of the AR feature showed fireworks when a user had reached their destination on Google Maps, Gorecki said. The team decided that this was not a good idea.
"It was mainly a distraction," he said. "You do not want to overdo it."