Google Maps is testing an augmented reality (AR) function.

Google Maps

Google Maps

The popular navigational app announced plans for an AR mode last year, but now it seems they've begun rolling the feature out to a small selection of users, before plans are expanded to bring it to everyone.

The Wall Street Journal managed to get their hands on a demo of "an early version" of Maps with AR, which shows Maps appearing on the lower half of the phone's screen as the top half navigates the user's real-world surroundings.

In their summary of the feature, the publication said the system was useful for moments in which a user is getting off the subway and doesn't know which way to go to get out of the station, but shouldn't be used to long distance navigation.

The app currently orientates itself based on surrounding landmarks, before pointing the user in the right direction, and then tells users to put their phones down while walking to avoid colliding with other passers by.

According to the publication, the AR version of Maps is being tested by a small, select group, and the feature isn't going to see an official release anytime soon, by which point it could have changed significantly from the design currently being tested.