In the common imagination, the concept of augmented reality still suggests something science fiction and not very usable in everyday life, but in truth, the practical uses are not lacking and it is precisely in this direction that the announcements made at Google I / O 2022 move, ranging from Google Maps Live View to the improvements coming on the Google Pixel 6, without forgetting the new and important Google ARCore Geospatial API.
Google Play Services for AR (ARCore) at Google I / O 2022
Google Play Services for AR (formerly known as ARCore ) is the platform of the Mountain View giant for augmented reality and is currently available for 1.2 billion devices with the Android operating system (less than a month ago we talked about important updates to the list of compatible models, also including several new Apple-branded entries ).
Under the spotlight of Google I / O 2022 – the annual developer conference underway these days and already heralding countless hardware and software announcements -, the Big G team held a session dedicated to the latest news regarding Google Play Services for AR (ARCore) , speaking of turning improvements in terms of performance, such as to make their operation faster and above all more reliable on smartphones of the Google Pixel 6 range. Secondly, we talked about the news in its main concrete application currently available, namely Google Maps Live View.
The latest announcement, aimed at developers but able to bring the platform into the daily lives of many new users in the near future, concerns the Google ARCore Geospatial API, which finally opens up to the exploitation of a function similar to that of Google Maps in third-party applications set off.
Improvements on Google Pixel 6 and Maps Live View
As for the improvements related to immersion, the Google team has worked to improve ARCore’s ability to relate to depth, which allows virtual objects to appear behind real ones and to achieve other more realistic placements. The smartphone camera allows you to create a depth map that reaches approximately the size of a large room, or up to about 8 meters. Here is what Google reported :
The mean time to initial depth was reduced by approximately 15%. Overall average depth map coverage is now 95% and is drastically improved on minimally textured surfaces, as you can see on the blank white wall and black TV. These are those places that would challenge classical depth, due to the lack of visual features.
There is talk of a camera approach now capable of guaranteeing depth coverage comparable to that of dedicated hardware. On the Pixel, Google is able to further speed up the process in question by also taking advantage of the secondary camera. The improvement on the subject is already rolling out for the Google Pixel 4 and the Google Pixel 6.
Google also talked about a new Long Range Depth capability that works up to 20 meters outdoors, where occlusion is also available in direct sunlight. The novelty is being rolled out in Google Maps Live View, where, for example, it appropriately modifies the pin that indicates the destination.
Big G has also improved motion tracking with ARCore: it is 17% faster at finding the foreground and resets have been reduced by 15%. These improvements were made possible by machine learning.
Google ARCore Geospatial API
The second big announcement on the subject of augmented reality is Google ARCore Geospatial API: available in the ARCore SDK for Android and iOS and on all compatible devices, this API allows all developers to bring AR capabilities into their apps for free thanks to access to the technology called global localization.
This has made Maps Live View possible since 2019, is based on the Visual Positioning Service (VPS) and on tens of billions of Street View images and now allows content to be anchored in latitude, longitude and altitude in over 87 countries across the country. world. The model was built using machine learning and promises to provide users with instant information, as long as they are in an area where Street View is available.
We had already talked to you about the first practical applications of this interesting novelty yesterday in the article that you find linked at the end of this, for more details you can also consult the Google blog for developers.