Google is introducing a host of new features across its services. Starting with Maps, the company said on Thursday that it would begin rolling out its long-awaited . As the name suggests, the feature adds a search bar to the app’s augmented reality layer, making it easier to find and make your way to places like ATMs, restrooms and restaurants. Starting next week, the feature will begin rolling out in London, LA, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo.
At the same time, Google is adding a new wheelchair icon to Maps to identify places with accessible entrances. Lastly, Maps now includes new filters designed to help you find EV charging stations with fast-charging plugs and ones with plugs that are compatible with your car. As of today, both features are available globally.
Search is receiving a number of improvements as well. To start, Google is making Lens more robust. If you see a photo of some food you want to try but don’t know what it’s called or where to find a restaurant that makes it in your local area, a new feature the company has dubbed “multisearch near me” will point you in the right direction. All you need to do is snap a photo of the dish you want to try (a screenshot works too if you find an image online) and type “near me” in the search field to find a place that sells it. You can also search for specific dishes at restaurants to find out more information about pricing and ingredients. With today’s launch, the two features are only available to English speakers in the US.
Speaking of Lens, Google will upgrade the feature’s translate functionality later this year. Once the update arrives, Lens will use an AI algorithm to erase the original text of a sign and generate new pixels underneath before overlaying the translation on top. The feature should help with readability.
On the shopping front, Google is adding new augmented reality features. The first is a library of 150 models representing different skin tones, ages, genders, face shapes and skin types, an addition the company says will help users accurately test over 2,000 foundation shades from a variety of brands. The company is also adding a new AR experience for sneakers that allows you to view kicks from Saucony, Vans and Merrell. Both features will start rolling out in the US today.
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