Google has launched its own augmented reality kit for developers, called ARCore, a lighter version of the company’s Tango platform that does not require any specialized hardware to run.
ARCore is a light software development kit, similar to Apple’s ARkit, which is able to track motion, understand flat surfaces, and estimate where the light will be for accurate shadows.
The SDK is currently available on Android 7.0 Nougat and its successor Android Oreo. It will work on the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Google is aiming for 100 million supported devices by the end of the year, according to The Verge.
Google has been working on Project Tango for three years now, launching specialized smartphones with Lenovo and Asus. The devices had depth perception functionality, because of the dual-cameras, creating the “six degrees of freedom” found on high-end virtual reality (VR) headsets.
Not a lot of consumer interest yet
While the project attracted developer attention, the two devices launched didn’t receive consumer interest. Google is now looking at ARCore as a possible bridge for consumers that are interested in augmented reality, but don’t want to spend $500 on a single purpose smartphone.
Google did not say if it plans to launch an ARCore supported Glass device in the near future.
Like Apple’s ARkit, Google’s demos have focused on animated objects appearing on surfaces and interior design. IKEA is building a new app that will show its entire catalogue in AR on iOS.
As its Google, there is an obvious ulterior motive to making AR easily accessible, visual search. In the future, a user may be able to pull out their phone and see information on businesses in the street, alongside featured stores and offers. Apple has already patented a similar idea.