Google posted on its blog today announcing that augmented reality will soon be available on hundreds of millions of devices. The California-based tech giant has been developing a program called Article that will be available on web browsers. Article is designed to be accessible for mobile and desktop devices by allowing users to access the website and subsequently download, launch, and interact with any available content. By not requiring previously downloaded games and other apps, Article should be accessible on virtually all compatible devices. The smartphone or desktop computer camera is used to display the user’s surroundings and the Article software does the rest.
The example Google demonstrated the new program with renders a three-dimensional cartoon astronaut. As the user points the device camera around his or her surroundings, the astronaut character can be resized, reoriented, and repositioned based on circumstances. After the astronaut is placed, it then interacts with its environment in a few ways. First of all, its positioning on the floor enables it to stay put, and the user can feel free to walk in circles around it for 3D viewing. Secondly, the astronaut casts a shadow which changes positions based on real lighting in the room or space. More features and interactions are to be announced as Google continues development.
Augmented reality quickly became popular in recent years, and Google plans to continue leading the effort. With the announcement of its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, Google debuted a couple of AR Stranger Things characters. The images were placed on stage at the I/O conference and began to interact with each other, even making noises. While entertaining, owners of the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 device owners did not receive an update for using the AR stickers until early December. Also revealed in late 2017, Apple plans to release its own iterations of augmented reality in the form of table games. Even Facebook intends to begin generating AR content in the near future. If AR is to be used by a majority of people, it will need to be made available on a host of devices. And Google’s plans to take the technology and make it suitable for internet browsers which may be the next step in bringing augmented reality to the masses.