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Google Maps' New Feature Lets You Visit Restaurants From Home

Google's latest addition to Maps will begin rolling out in select cities later this year. Here's how it'll work.

Google Maps GPS app on a phone
Google Maps is adding a new tool soon.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Google has a new feature for its Maps app that it's rolling out this year called Immersive View -- and it takes Street View to a new level. It works by using billions of photos to model buildings and trees in 3D using machine learning. Once it becomes available, you'll be able to experience what a restaurant, neighborhood, landmark or popular venue is like, as if you're already there.

At its Google I/O event, the tech giant also showed off the next major update to Android, new security protections and a new Look and Talk feature that lets you interact with Google Assistant without saying a wake word.

We'll explain what Immersive View is and when you can start using it. We'll also tell you about some updates to two Google Maps features.

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How Immersive View will work

If you're planning a trip and are curious about a city or neighborhood you've never visited, Immersive View can help you get your bearings about the location. When you search a city -- for instance, London -- you'll be able to see neighborhoods, restaurants, landmarks and other areas as if you're already there.

If you're visiting one of the cities with Immersive View, you can also see what it looks like during a certain time of day and during various weather conditions. You can also see where the busy spots are if you're looking for a popular area or places to avoid.

And you can take a glimpse inside restaurants as if you're walking through the building to check out the vibe before going. Live busyness and nearby traffic information will also be available. 

Immersive View exploring Westminster Abbey.

Google

When will Immersive View be available in Google Maps?

Google says Immersive view will start rolling out in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year, but didn't specify when. At launch, it'll be available only in those cities but will come to more cities afterward.

Is this also available for iPhone users?

Often, when a new Google Maps feature is released, iPhone users are the last to see it. However, Google says Immersive view will work on almost any phone and device, and that includes your beloved iPhone. 

Other updates to Google Maps features

Google has updated two of its Maps features: eco-friendly routing and Live View.

Eco-friendly routing lets you see and choose the most fuel-efficient route when getting driving directions to help you save money on gas. 

Live View uses AR to display arrows and directions right on your screen as you walk around town. Google has now made this technology available to developers for free with the new ARCore Geospatial API.

For more, check out these six Google Maps tricks. Also, here are some Google Travel tips you should start using today.