While Google is not prepared to embark on a broad release of the AR navigation mode for Google Maps, the company has started testing the feature with members of its local Guides crowdsourcing community.
As a result, we had the opportunity to test an alphabetical building of the real-world function (and log in some necessary steps in the process). And I cannot stress enough that this is a very early version. As such, this is a collection of impressions of the experience rather than a review.
The AR navigation option comes via a button next to the regular start button and on the routing overview screen with a cubic symbol that has become a common symbol for AR across multiple platforms. When the AR navigation starts, the traditional map interface on the bottom of the app, presses the camera key that takes over the top half.
In the same way as ARKit and ARCore discover surfaces, users are instructed to scan their surroundings for buildings and street signs to orient the app to the users' environment. AR Navigation in Google Maps signals the completion of this process with a pop in Google-colored dots that indicate identified points in the app's view of the environment.