The “vibe shift” has hit Google Maps.
At its Search On announcement event on Wednesday, Google showed off a slew of funky new Maps features, one of which is leaning way in to Gen Z trends. Soon, users will be able to “vibe check” — yes, you read that right — any neighborhood they plan on visiting, as well as gawk at 3D renders of monuments and restaurants while navigating to a destination with their phone’s camera.
The new neighborhood vibe feature (as it’s officially called) is designed to give users
Google says the feature will roll out over “the coming months” for both Android and iOS apps. To demo the new Maps feature, Google used the historic Latin Quarter of Paris as an example instead of something more in vogue for the Gen Z set — a reminder that “vibes” can apply to a lot more than just hip, trendy coffee shops and bars.
The Latin Quarter’s vibes are immaculate.
A couple of things stand out about this new feature. First, it seems like Maps will draw borders for neighborhoods, which could produce funny results in certain areas where the locals dispute which neighborhood a particular block is actually in. Second, not every neighborhood has quite the rich history of monuments as Paris’ Latin Quarter. (Hopefully one of the first results for my old neighborhood will be the ‘90s Hollywood-themed Burger King. It’s really the Panthéon of Brooklyn.)
Immerse yourself in Maps
Of course, neighborhood vibes aren’t the only new thing coming to Google Maps, though this next feature could theoretically be used for vibe checks, too.
Launching Wednesday, you’ll also be able to check out “photorealistic aerial views” of 250 3D-modeled landmarks around the world, including the Eiffel Tower and the Acropolis. This is a tease of the fully featured “immersive view” feature that’s rolling out at an unspecified later date. Announced back at Google I/O in May, the immersive view lets you peek inside restaurants and other buildings to get an idea of what to expect if you decide to visit.
As a millennial (which is like Gen Z but with more lower back pain), I will definitely be using immersive view to perform vibe checks of my own. I know I’m not the only person out there who gets anxiety about restaurants not having enough seating for a group, so the ability to check the layout in 3D could be helpful for planning dinner with friends.
Get that paper
The last big, new toy for Google Maps users announced on Wednesday is an enhancement of Live View, the feature that lets you navigate from the street level using your phone’s camera. Google’s adding a search function to Live View, so if you need to grab some cash for the Hollywood Burger King, just hold your phone camera up and spin it around until you see where the nearest ATM is hiding. Train stations, coffee shops, and other local landmarks will also appear in this view.
This is launching “in the coming months” in New York, San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Paris.
While Google didn’t use the full “vibe check” Gen Z parlance with all of these announcements, that’s still the takeaway from these new features. Part of being a trendy young person is knowing exactly what you’re getting into before a night out on the town. You don’t have to get ready if you stay ready… and neighborhood vibes, immersive view, and live view searches will all help you do just that.
And if you ever do find yourself in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, make sure you use all of these new Google Maps features to track down that beautiful Burger King with a big portrait of Dr. Evil directly to the left of the entrance. I guarantee your Instagram and TikTok numbers will soar like an eagle thanks to characters from movies that are older than most users of those apps.