Sometimes, gauging six feet is a bit tough to do. So Google decided to do something about it. Meet Google Sodar, which is an AR app that will help you do social distancing during this pandemic.
Of course, it's not very convenient to pull out your phone every time you're somewhere to see if you are far enough away from everyone. But it can work in some instances. Most stores now have places for you to stand that are six feet or two meters (for those that know the metric system) apart.
This app is brought to us by the Experiments at Google team. This team does a lot of interesting experiments with technology and such. And it's important to note that this is a web app, not an actual app you download. It is currently only available on Android while using Chrome. It doesn't work with Microsoft Edge either, which is built on Chromium – the same base that Chrome is built on.
Sodar is a really cool experiment
Being able to whip out your phone and open Sodar to see if you are far enough away from the person in front of you, is a really neat feature. And one has to wonder why no other developers have done this already. Well actually, a few have but Google rejected their submissions, unfortunately.
It does look like social distancing is going to be something we'll be doing for the foreseeable future so this Sodar AR app is going to be pretty popular. Hopefully Google is able to get it onto more platforms.
The reason why it is not available on other browsers right now, is because it is built on WebXR, which is a newer standard that Google built with Mozilla (the makers of Firefox). A lot of browsers do not yet support WebXR, but they should in the very near future.
To get started with Sodar, you can click here and then you'll scan the QR code on that page to jump to Sodar. Then it is just as easy as pointing your phone around you, and it'll show a big circle that is two-meters (that's six feet for us Americans) around you. So as long as the person is outside of that circle, you are far enough away from them.
This is probably one of the most useful instances of AR or augmented reality, to date, and it's only going to get better.