Was it all the way back in February when we told you about Google testing an AR version of Google Maps for pedestrians
? Time sure flies when you're covering this industry. Anyway, Google is now promoting this feature on the Pixel 3a
and Pixel 3a XL
by once again offering a comparison with the infamous "Phone X." The first time, using the Pixel 3
, Google compared its Night Sight feature that takes viewable pictures in low-light conditions with the same photo snapped by "Phone X" with the same lighting
. The fine print in both ads reveals that the mystery phone is the 64GB Apple iPhone XS
. Google repeated the comparison on a billboard
put up near an Apple Store in Washington D.C.
The point of these ads is to point out that such features as Night Sight and AR navigation are available in a phone starting at $399 as compared to the $999 it costs for the 64GB iPhone XS
(aka "Phone X"). Meanwhile, AR navigation on Google Maps is not to be used while driving, and to make sure that users don't become too distracted, they will be reminded to put the phone down after a certain time. If the user doesn't obey, the screen will go dark. This will also preserve battery life on the phone since AR navigation is a big power consumer.
Besides showing pedestrians how to walk from point "A" to point "B" with arrows superimposed on real-world images, AR in Google Maps will also point out famous landmarks and certain retail locations. It isn't clear whether Google has rolled this feature out to all Pixel
models yet. But let's say that a Pixel 3a
user has opened Google Maps to help him or her navigate while walking. If AR navigation is available, a button will appear that says "Start AR." At that moment, the regular Google Maps UI is replaced with the real world backdrop from the phone's camera.