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Google LLC said today it’s adding a new augmented reality-powered capability to Live View in Maps that will make it possible to visually search for restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses in the immediate vicinity. The expanded Live View feature is part of a series of updates announced today in Maps, Search and Shopping.

Google said the new AR capabilities will roll out in Live View in Maps from next week in select cities, including New York, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo and Paris. Users will see a new “Search with Live View” feature made available that allows them to search the area they’re standing in using their smartphone camera. As the user holds up their phone and scans nearby buildings, Maps will helpfully identify them as hotels, restaurants, banks, ATMs, stores and more. Users will also be able to see if the business is open, how busy it is, and information on its price range, as well as user ratings.

Searching for food is also getting easier with a new capability in Google Search that allows users to search by dish. So if someone fancies a “truffle mac and cheese” they can just type that into the Maps search bar and it will call up a list of restaurants offering that dish – or something similar. Users will also be able to see information about the restaurant’s prices, what ingredients it uses, user reviews and more.

Later this year, there will be a new update to Google Lens that aims to improve the AR translate capabilities of the app. The improvement will enable users to translate text on more complex backgrounds, Google said.

Electric vehicle drivers will be able to refine their search for charging stations, filtering their results to show only the most time-efficient options. Within the filter menu, users can now select “fast charge” stations that are compatible with their specific vehicle. Google said fast charging stations are defined as those with 50 kilowatt chargers or higher.

Elsewhere, there’s a new AR-powered shopping feature that promises to help users find their exact foundation match more easily. Google Maps is getting a new photo library that features 148 models to represent a diverse spectrum of skin tones, genders, ages, face shapes, ethnicities and skin types. With this database, users should be able to find a more suitable option to help visualize how different skin products will look on themselves.



“Search for a foundation shade on Google across a range of prices and brands, like ‘Armani Luminous Silk Foundation’,” the company explained in a blog post. “You’ll see what that foundation looks like on models with a similar skin tone, including before and after shots, to help you decide which one works best for you. Once you’ve found one you like, just select a retailer to buy.”

Last but not least, Google said it’s expanding its Accessible Places feature, which shows an icon on business profile pictures to indicate if they’re wheelchair accessible. Previously only available in the U.S., Australia, the U.K. and Japan, it’s now being rolled out globally. Google said the icons can also be useful to anyone walking with a stroller or cart, as these users may also be interested in knowing if a ramp is available.

Images: Google

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