Google Maps is getting Incognito Mode and AR walking navigation

Google Maps will be getting an Incognito Mode, the company announced at its annual developer conference, Google I/O.

Incognito Mode is already available for Chrome and YouTube, and Google said it will be bringing the feature to its Maps and Search services this year.

“When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your activity—like the places you search or get directions to—won’t be saved to your Google Account,” the company stated.

“Since launching more than a decade ago, Incognito mode in Chrome has given you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device,” said Google said.

“As our phones become the primary way we access the internet, we thought it was important to build Incognito mode for our most popular apps.”

Incognito Mode will be available from the menu when you tap your profile picture, and you can turn it off again by tapping the Incognito Mode icon that replaces your profile image when the feature is enabled.

In addition to an Incognito Mode for Maps, Google also announced that it would be making it easier to manage your data in Maps, Google Assistant, and YouTube.

“For example, you’ll be able to review and delete your location activity data directly in Google Maps, and then quickly get back to your directions,” the company said.

It will also soon be possible to configure your account so that your location history is automatically deleted.

Google said that although retaining your location data helps deliver a better service, it also believes that people should be in full control of their data.

Auto-delete for web & app data is already available, and it is set to launch for Google Maps in June.

Google Maps Incognito Mode

Augmented Reality walking navigation

Google has also rolled out augmented reality (AR) walking navigation for Maps to its Pixel smartphones, including the new new Pixel 3a.

The feature has been in the works for awhile. Google spoke about it at last year’s I/O event, and has run limited beta tests among its users.

“The next time you’re getting around town, you can see walking directions overlaid on the world itself, rather than looking at a blue dot on a map,” Google said.

“This helps you know precisely where you are, and exactly which way to start walking (in areas covered on Street View where there’s a good data connection and good lighting).”

Google announced that a preview of AR in Maps will be available on its own Pixel smartphones.

Staff members were also asking attendees at Google I/O to test the feature on a brief walk, then surveying them for their opinion on AR walking navigation.

Among the questions they asked was whether testers felt comfortable holding their phone up while walking. One attendee said that they would likely not hold their phone up all the time while walking, but occasionally consult it to make sure they turned in the right direction.

Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Google at I/O 2019 in Mountain View, California.

Now read: How much it costs to use Google Maps in South Africa

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Google Maps is getting Incognito Mode and AR walking navigation