Google ARCore Support Coming To Chromebooks, Commit Suggests

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Google is working on adding support for its augmented reality platform ARCore to select Chromebook models, according to a new Chromium Gerrit commit discovered by XDA Developers. Chrome OS ARCore support is tied to the WebXR application programming interface designed for AR and virtual reality software, as per the same source. The implementation itself should be somewhat similar to the mobile version of the service, though its use cases on traditional Chromebooks may vary given how such devices aren’t as portable as smartphones, provided ARCore even makes its way to Chrome OS-powered devices shaped as conventional laptops.

Google recently started expanding the Chromebook ecosystem to tablets and ARCore may end up being a major selling point of that product category, especially in the context of education, a segment that Chrome OS slates will be initially targeting. The education-focused offerings already come with support for Google Expeditions, a VR discovery platform, with a possible inclusion of ARCore being in line with that philosophy of combining emerging technologies and media formats with educational experiences. The recently rumored “Atlas” Chromebook will support ARCore, according to another recently uncovered commit. The addition of ARCore to select Chrome OS devices should be possible due to the hardware-agnostic nature of Google’s solution which doesn’t require any specialized cameras or sensors in order to deliver AR experiences. The functionality itself still appears to be in a relatively early phase of development, indicating the platform won’t be rolling out to any Chromebooks before the second half of the year at the earliest.

ARCore is presently available on approximately a dozen Android smartphones and its upcoming 1.1 build is expected to make the solution compatible with a range of additional devices, including Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. The platform started expanding beyond Google’s Pixel 2 lineup in late February, having officially exited its preview phase of development at the latest iteration of Barcelona, Spain-based Mobile World Congress. Google is promoting ARCore as a direct rival of Apple’s ARKit and has recently started accepting ARCore Android apps to the Google Play Store en masse.