Not long time ago, at WWDC event, Apple came up with "ARKit" that was its first attempt to make Augmented Reality (AR) tools more accessible to the developers. With ARKit, developers could come up with AR apps easily as it is compatible with any iOS 11 device. Until now, many AR masterpieces have come out of ARKit, such as 'Take On Me' style music video, restaurant app that can display virtual food items, a virtual pet game, and others. All this is pretty impressive, which is why Google didn't want to wait and has come up with its answer to Apple's ARKit. Google's version of ARKit is named as ARCore.
What will happen to Google Tango?
ARCore is not Google's first step into the world of augmented reality; Google Tango has been in the space for quite some time - but ARCore is a different product altogether. Google Tango required special hardware like sensors and cameras, but ARCore has no such pre-requisites. Just like ARKit, Google's ARCore just needs your phone. Google is seems to be drifting away from Project Tango, but it has not abandoned it, yet. Until now, there are just two phones that have launched under Tango - Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and ASUS ZenFone AR. Now that Google is shifting its focus on AR software, we don't really expect to see any more devices coming under Tango.
ARCore on Pixel and Galaxy S8
ARKit is still not widely available for public as it requires iOS 11, and this is where Google is trying taking the lead. ARCore is available right now! Developers can start working on it on their Pixel or Samsung's Galaxy S8 smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat or above. For now, there are just two phones that can run it, but Google is working on making it available on millions of other Android devices from the OEMs like Samsung, Huawei, LG and ASUS.
Similar to Apple's ARKit, Google's ARCore also works with Java/OpenGL, Unity and Unreal. It offers three features such as Motion tracking that uses phone's camera to detect your position, environmental understanding for detecting horizontal surfaces, and light estimation to provide perfect light and shadow of virtual objects matching your surroundings.
For ARCore, Google says that it is already building 3D tools like locks and Tilt Brush that will help developers in creating AR content that complies with ARCore. In addition, the tech giant has also been working on other Augmented Reality techs such as a Visual Positioning Service for world-scale AR experiences, and AR-compatible web browsers. You can take a look at Google's AR Experiments showcase for some experimental models. To take its AR plans further, it looks like Google has already partnered with Epic Games, Niantic, and Wayfair.
Given the fact that there are way more Android users than iOS, it looks like ARCore may eclipse Apple's ARKit concerning user base. At the WWDC, Apple announced that ARKit would be the "largest AR platform in the world," which is no longer the case, right?
What's your take on Google's ARCore? Do you think it will make AR popular among users? Share your views with us in the comments section below.