There was time when we used to rely on
passersby to seek directions to reach our destination. The advancement in
technology has changed the way we have been navigating since the past few
years. Everyone has heard of Google Maps. This mapping technology from Google
helps you search, explore and find your way around the world. Google Maps help
you get from one place to another by giving you turn by turn directions. This
app can generate directions between different places using means of transport
like walking, car, and bike or even by air and is even smart enough to show
traffic congestion and recommend faster routes to avoid traffic. But, we still
sometimes experience incorrect directions while using GPS, one of the reasons
being, that satellite signals sometimes are not a hundred percent accurate and
may not be able to determine your exact location.
Google, being a global leader in the navigation industry consistently keeps on making efforts to improve its navigation services. In an endeavour to provide extensive coverage with updated information to its users, Google has taken a big step forward with the Google Maps application. Google, in its developer conference announced one of the best features in Google Maps Navigation: visual guidance and Visual Positioning Service, short for VPS. It is amazing to see what developers have done with technology today. AR or augmented reality is most powerful when it is tightly coupled with the real world. Just when the GPS was not enough, Google introduced the new visual system in Google Maps, VPS, which is more or less like visual GPS and a whole lot personal. With VPS, instead of talking to satellites, which is not viable when you are indoors to figure out where you are or where you want to go, your phone looks for distinct visual features in your surroundings, identifies the surroundings and visually communicates the route or relevant information right in front of your eyes.
With Google VPS, all you have to do is
tap a button to activate visual view and
point your camera where you want to see relevant information. VPS is a
great addition to Google Maps and Street View and uses your phone’s camera and
Google’s extensive back-end data to analyze your surroundings to get you
navigated on your way. It identifies the surroundings with an overlay of information
for businesses close by, with superimposed arrows appearing at each turn to
point you in the direction you need to go, without misinterpreting directions
and a map at the bottom to remind you where you are going with greater
accuracy. Google, in its demo is playing with the idea of inserting digital
animated avatars as an augmented reality tour guide to make your app more
The new visual system is beneficial for people who live in densely populated areas with tall buildings and face problems with GPS drift while navigating or people who usually get delayed while figuring out Google Maps navigation. VPS will give a better sense of position than with just the GPS. This new version of Google Maps will merge its traditional interface with a live camera view and enable you to figure out your surroundings and find your route through its visual positioning service.
Imagine you are at a home departmental store and you are struggling to find a particular screw driver. VPS can take you to the exact screw driver you are looking for and point it out to you on the shelf. You just need to walk down the aisle and your phone will navigate his way around thanks to the visual points inside the store. Making full use of AR’s strengths, the phone can figure out where that particular type of screw driver is kept.
Aparna Chennapragada, director of product, in her presentation, showed off an updated version of VPS. Google understands the problems you have to deal with when navigating an unfamiliar locality. This new technology is combining the power of the camera to re imagine walking navigation. You just need to open the camera and you instantly know where you are. You get all the information on the map, the street names, nearby places, etc. Moving the camera around will automatically highlight your points of interest, for instance nearby restaurants or cafes. Instead of moving around in the real world to line yourself up with the blue dot marking their location in Maps, Google Maps will display three dimensional directions like arrows and precise steps and the camera can look at your surroundings and work it out for you. For example an information card will pop up when looking at a clothing store or if you get out of a subway station and don’t know where you need to go next, simply hold up your phone and launch the camera. Google lens will identify where you are standing and compare it to with the Google database of Street view and will an arrow overlay will appear on the screen, telling you if you need to go left, right or straight.
VPS is a fairly new technology that
can help customers find their business better and in a much safer manner than
Google Maps. Where Google Maps is set up for all-wheel travel methods, VPS can
help people even on foot, bikes or scooters. VPS is a lot more personal than
just directing foot traffic. It helps the mobile devices to quickly and
accurately understand their location and guide how they can get to where they
want to go.
VPS can be a great aid for visually impaired people. Providing close up visual
assistance along with an audio interface can help the visually impaired people
in schools, business establishments or other public venues. VPS can transform
the way how these people navigate through the world.
How can your business harness VPS?
First, you need to search your business on Google and see what pops up. Take a look at your business profile, which usually opens up on the right side of the screen. Fill up your business profile completely, including the name of your business, address, phone number, information about the social media profile. Also fill in the website link and the reviews. Submitting the correct information is important to help people get the correct information about your business on Google’s VPS service.
With the advancements in technology,
the service offerings by Virtual Positioning system are expected to be more
virtual and customized for each customer. With smart text selection, you can connect
the words you see, with the answers and actions you need. VPS can turn a page
of words into a page of answers. Another thing in the works is the “For You”
tab which will highlight points of interest with a “your match” feature which
can be used to share the lists with your friends. With style match, you can
open the camera and find things match the style of the things you are looking