Google is taking out its ARCore augmented reality system from the beta version with new features, and is making its visual search tool Lens part of Google Photos on all phones. Today, ARCore 1.0 is launched on all Google Pixel phones, all recent Samsung flagship phones, the Android O version of LG's V30 and V30 Plus, Asus ZenFone AR and OnePlus 5. In addition to the capabilities of the preview version, ARCore 1.0 includes support for anchoring virtual objects to any surface with texture, not just planes, horizontals. Google boasts that 100 million Android phones are currently compatible with the platform, and is working with several companies (Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, Asus, Xiaomi, HMD / Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile and Vivo) to certify new ARCore phones in the market. future.
Lens was previously only Pixel, but now it is available through Google Photos on Android and iOS 9 or later or through the Google Assistant on several Android flagship phones. It is also supposed to have improved support for recognizing breeds of common animals and plant types. The lens can examine the photos you have already taken through Photos, and if you are using a Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony and HMD / Nokia badge with the Assistant, you can simply pull out your phone and point it out.
Lens makes sense of the world through his phone, and ARCore modifies it
ARCore was released as a limited preview in August of 2017, and Lens arrived shortly thereafter in October. Google's senior director of products, Aparna Chennapragada, describes them as two sides of the same coin: Lens is an "integrated camera" system that helps make sense of the visual world, and ARCore is a camera that makes the world appear differently through your phone. Lens is an extension of Google's text and voice search functions, and ARCore allows developers to easily create augmented reality applications, similar to Apple's ARKit for iOS. ARKit recently added support for vertical planes and image recognition, and Google's own update could help raise the standard for both mobile AR platforms.
We've already seen things like Google's ARCore stickers, but as of today, developers can upload their own ARCore-based apps to the Play Store. Applications that already have augmented reality capabilities can also integrate ARCore technology for better performance: Snap, for example, is complementing its "global lens" function with ARCore, presenting a new experience that simulates entering the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. through a high technology portal. Snap has put a lot of work into augmented reality, but "they do not go out and certify and calibrate millions and millions of cameras," says Amit Singh, vice president of business and operations at Google VR. Google is also updating Android Studio to allow developers to preview AR applications on the desktop.
In addition to the Snap experience, Google is partnering with other developers to celebrate the launch of ARCore 1.0. Sotheby's International Realty, the furniture company Otto and the electronic commerce company JD.com will allow you to see the rooms, furniture, appliances and other products. Porsche will allow Android users to check a version of their Mission E concept vehicle, and an upcoming mobile game called Ghostbusters World (naturally) will allow players to catch ghosts that appear in the real world. Google is also taking its platform out of the Play Store ecosystem in China, partnering with Xiaomi and Huawei to distribute ARCore-driven applications through independent app stores.
The long-term vision for ARCore and Lens is quite exciting. As Chennapragada points out, Google could easily connect the "camera-input" and "camera-out" functions of Android. He offered the example of seeing a nice piece of furniture in a friend's house, taking a photo for Google to identify him, and automatically calling a 3D model to preview it in his home. "There's a reason we're talking about these two things together," she says. The visual search for the lens style could also expand beyond the phones to something like Google's point-and-shoot VR180 camcorder line, where you could identify or annotate objects without problems. "We have not discovered what the user experience [is like] and do not want to add more cognitive load to the experience," she says. "But certainly behind the scenes, I think that's one of the things we're seeing."
For now, however, both Lens and ARCore are relatively simple and limited. Even so, the next few weeks should see that they become more sophisticated and more widely available.