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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to use Augmented Reality to find your friends in Google Maps «Android :: Gadget Hacks

How to use Augmented Reality to find your friends in Google Maps «Android :: Gadget Hacks



In addition to the launch of Android 11, Google has gifted Pixel users with several exclusive features, including home screen app suggestions. Another exclusive feature includes Live View, the augmented reality navigation feature in Google Maps and one of the more useful implementations of AR for the average consumer.

Now Pixel users can quickly see where their friends are in augmented reality. So if you have a Pixel in your hands, keep reading to try this exclusive feature. If you have another device that supports Google Maps Live View, skip to step 4 to discover a lesser known alternative to the Pixel exclusive feature.

Step 1
: Update to Android 11

One of the leading selling points for Pixel is that Android updates come first to them. So if you have not already updated your device, search for “System Update” in Settings and then press the “Check for Update” button.

If this does not work, you can sign up for Android Beta for Pixel, which now provides the official version of Android 11.

Step 2: Update the app

Skip to the Play Store to update your Maps app. You do not have to be in the beta version; that’s just how I roll.

  • Install full app name: Android (free) | iOS (free)

Step 3: Tap the friend’s location

This feature only works when your friends share their location with you. This is done by tapping your profile icon, selecting “Location Sharing” and following the instructions from there.

Once your friends have shared their location with you, tap their icon in your map view to bring up available options.

Step 4: Enter Live View

Pixel owners find a Live View icon in the lower right corner of the map view. Tap here to enter the camera view, where the app will ask you to scan your surroundings.

Once the app has identified your location, AR overlays will lead you to your friend’s location. Their place of residence will be marked with an AR waypoint that includes their profile photo. You can then press “Start” to start AR navigation to their position.

Alternative method: Get directions (Android and iOS)

For all other Android devices that support ARCore, along with ARKit-compatible iPhones, you can still find your friends. It only takes a few extra steps.

To return to the split location screen in step 2, press the Directions button. This will take you to the traditional navigation setting screen. Touch the directions option, then select the Live View icon. This will take you to step 3, except that your friend’s location will not be adjusted; instead, it shows its approximate address.

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Cover image and screenshots by Tommy Palladino / Gadget Hacks

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