At last year's I / O Developer Conference, Google showed a new augmented reality feature for Google Maps that will give people real-time instructions from the camera on your phone. As my colleague Chaim Gartenberg noted, it's a bit like Google Glass promised, but without a headset. The Wall Street JournalDavid Pierce was allowed to try an early version of the feature.

He says, "Although it's probably not your first option for a turn-by-turn option, it's a big step in the right direction for Google Maps." He described how the feature worked – the app captures a person's location via GPS and then uses Street View data to narrow it down to your exact location. Once his location was captured, large arrows and directions were displayed on the screen. "It was like Maps pulled my directions into the real world, though nobody could see them."

He adds that the app does not seem to use the camera permanently and urges you to shut down the camera after a short while. When you do this, the normal map interface is displayed. Rachel Inman, the head of the company's user experience tells him that "for the moments like" I get off the subway, where do I go first? "

Google has reportedly experimented with the user interface and found that users are too close to following a line on the ground and that an animated guide sticks it to the screen. Pierce notes that the UI he previewed might change and that Google does not say when the feature will be available to users, only that it will soon be available for "a few local guides" and "only for everyone" Google appears convinced that it is done. "

Pierce notes that there are a few takeaways here. The first is that a big advantage of the feature is that users provide very specific location data, and that this feature is likely to remain on AR-enabled glasses rather than on the phone. Companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, North, Vuzix and others have all worked or are selling their own AR glasses. This means that Google's new feature may be within your view.