Google Maps' Drone-Like 'Immersive View' Is Now Live in Five Cities

The latest Google Maps updates will also bring glanceable directions to your lock screen and new features for EV drivers.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read
Google Maps 3D view of London

A 3D view of London in Google Maps as shown at Google I/O 2022.


The Google Maps update we've been waiting for is finally here. Google's Immersive View takes Street View to the next level, allowing you to soar through 3D renderings of cities at different times of the day and in different weather conditions so you can experience landmarks and neighborhoods as though you're actually there.

When the company first announced Immersive View last year at its I/O developer conference, it said the feature would be available in late 2022. It didn't quite make that deadline, but the wait is now over and Immersive View is now available for five cities across three continents. Starting on Wednesday, you can use Immersive View to explore London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Tokyo. Google said that more cities will be available in the coming months, including Florence, Venice, Amsterdam and Dublin.

Along with improved language and search tools, Immersive View is one of the many features to emerge from Google's heavy investment in AI. Using advanced computer vision, the company has fused together billions of Street View and aerial images, before using a technology called neural radiance fields to transform them into richly detailed 3D representations. It's one of several features helping Google continue to keep its mapping tools competitive in a field where Apple and others are snapping at its heels.

The company is also bringing some existing map features to new cities. Search with Live View, the tool that allows you to use to navigate by holding up your phone and seeing information about surrounding businesses and landmarks immediately around you, will be available in new European locations in the coming months, including Barcelona, Madrid and Dublin. Meanwhile, Google is expanding Indoor Live View to 1,000 new airports, train stations, and malls.

Google is also making it easier than ever to check that you're still going in the right direction by bringing Glanceable Directions to route overviews and lock screens. This means you'll no longer need to be in navigation mode to see if your next turn is coming up or what your updated ETA is likely to be.

Other new tools Google is bringing to Maps include special features designed for EV users using Google Built-in -- car infotainment systems that include bundled Google services. Google will identify very fast charging stations at the touch of a button, see charging stations in search results and add charging stops into shorter trips.

Aside from Immersive View, which will be available immediately, the new tools and features Google announced on Wednesday will roll out gradually in the coming months.