How to use Google Maps Live View to always find your way

Ever get lost walking in a big city, airport or mall and the regular map on your smartphone isn’t helping you find your way?

You’re in luck! A little-known feature in Google Maps harnesses its “augmented reality” technology and your smartphone’s camera to give you live 3D walking directions, as well as useful information like how busy a restaurant is, reviews and user-generated photos.

Using this helpful feature is quick and easy, and this week’s tip we’ll show you how to always know the way to go.

How to use Live View in Google Maps

Live View in Google Maps is a great enhanced navigation tool when you’re walking anywhere that Google has documented. Google’s AI technology uses your camera to identify buildings, streets and other objects in the viewfinder, and the GPS positions your location on the map. 

Live View is only available when mapping out walking directions. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Open Google Maps on your device (iPhone or Android)
  2. Under the Explore or Go tabs, search for your destination, then tap “Directions”
  3. Beneath your destination, tap the walk icon.
  4. At the bottom of the screen, tap “Live View”
  5. If this your first time using Live View, you may be prompted with some instructions and asking you to grant access to your camera
  6. Point your rear-facing camera at buildings or other landmarks around you. You’ll need to keep your phone in a raised position to continue using this feature.
  7. Follow the on-screen directions to your destination — but stay aware of your surroundings while you look at your phone!