Google announces ARCore, its answer to Apple's ARKit

Google announces ARCore, its answer to Apple's ARKit

Google has announced its official entry into the augmented reality (AR) market, launching a new software development kit (SDK) for its Android operating system: ARCore.

Google showed off the power of its platform and the remarkable possibilities of augmented reality in a promo video.

The post continues: "We're targeting 100 million devices at the end of the preview". Motion tracking and feature point observation allows ARCore to identify how the phone is being held, with the same feature points used to assess the environment and light.

While Google's ARCore will only be compatible with certain Android devices, it does not require any new hardware that is not already found in the latest smartphones.

Still, for those interested in owning a device specifically built for Project Tango's AR platform, the ZenFone is available now. So now, Google is taking key pieces from the Tango experiment and adapting them to fit the hardware included in today's smartphones.

According to Reuters, Google initially tried to work it out with the Project Tango, which uses sensors to detect depth, but it seems that the search giant has more success in making it fully functional with ARCore.

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ARCore works with Java/OpenGL and the Unity and Unreal engines.

Google's take on the technology will first be available on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google's own Pixel phone.

With regard to Apple, that knows its hardware well, Michael Valdsgaard, a developer with the furniture chain IKEA, called the system "rock solid", observing that it could estimate the size of virtual furniture placed in a room with 98 percent accuracy, despite lacking special sensors. Well, these are only some of the questions that any AR enthusiast will get in mind upon hearing about ARCore.

Motion tracking and environmental awareness are two of the most basic prerequisites for an adequate AR experience - objects in AR have to "stick" to surfaces (that is, stay where they are in relation to real objects) and change perspective in relation to the user's point of view. Google didn't give a release date for ARCore, but we should expect to see more of it later this year-perhaps at the Pixel 2 launch?

Google also says it is working "Visual Positioning Service (VPS), a service which will enable world scale AR experiences well beyond a tabletop". The upcoming iOS 11 will bring with it applications developed using the new kit, and they will represent a significant head start to ARCore and whatever projects are built on it.

ARCore is evidence of Google's determination to help us all make sense of what we see around us, and to be part of the movement to digitally enhance our world.