Childish Gambino Leaves Google's AR Nest, Lands On Android

Childish Gambino Playground AR App Illustration AH

Childish Gambino, the rap-loving, line-spitting, dancing-conventions-subverting alter ego of actor, rapper, singer, songwriter, DJ, comedian, screenwright, producer, director, entrepreneur and an everyday reminder you haven’t accomplished anything in your life — Donald Glover — appears to be quite pleased with how his recent collaboration with Google turned out.

After being immortalized in the form of an augmented reality character busting out dance moves left and right, all as part of a promotional package for the Pixel Playground platform unveiled in February, Childish Gambino decided to “go independent” and is now pursuing an entirely new endeavor in the world of AR. Called PHAROS AR, the latest Android app that appeared on the Google Play Store this week appears to be published by Mr. Glover himself i.e. his artistic persona’s account.

Naturally, it’s very much up to debate how much Childish Gambino’s newest entrepreneurial effort is an actually standalone affair; not only is Google already promoting it across a number of its channels , including its main product and general tech blog visited by millions of people every day, but the firm also appears to have been involved in its development. More specifically, anything resembling a closer look at the app reveals that PHAROS AR features the same dancing “Emoji” Google’s Playground platform has been using for months now.


Whether the company opted for a name change in order to revive its AR brand is unclear but from an outside perspective, this is quite obviously a partnership benefitting both sides and boosting the value of their brands, so it’s quite likely no money exchanged hands at all at this stage of Mr. Glover and Google’s cooperation.

Described as an interactive multiplayer experience, PHAROS AR seeks to continue Mr. Glover’s efforts to experiment with music and other forms of art, whereas it’s also a rather entertaining advertisement for Google’s efforts in the field of three-dimensional entertainment. It’s completely free to download and use, whereas the underlying technology that powers it is believed to be the ARCore platform whose announcement arrived way back in 2017, after which the service existed solely as a Pixel device exclusive.

Google then arrived at the 2018 edition of Mobile World Congress and began rolling out ARCore globally, targeting a wide variety of third-party handsets in waves of about a dozen. Fast-forward a year later and the vast majority of contemporary Android smartphones is on board with Google’s AR basis, at least in principle.


Combined with the lukewarm reception of the mark-three variant of Canon’s iconic 70-200m f/2.8 L IS series, the Japanese firm may now be more willing to look at experiments such as gaming smartphones and more capable mobile photography solutions. In the meantime, you can refer to the Play Store link above and get a taste of how entertaining Google’s AR solutions can actually be, especially when given to professionals capable of squeezing the very last inch of performance out of any imaging module, even tiny handset sensors.

Google‘s advertising efforts involving A-list Hollywood stars are also expected to intensify moving forward as the firm is still gradually growing its imaging ecosystem.