Two of the Pixel 2’s main software selling points are expanding with the announcement of new partnerships and devices today.
ARCore, the tech giant’s augmented reality (AR) software development kit (SDK) for Android, is out of preview and is now launching as version 1.0. Now developers can publish AR apps directly to the Play Store. Google has also added improvements and additional support to make the process faster and easier, according to the company.
ARCore 1.0 also now features improved environmental understanding. The update allows users to place virtual assets on textured surfaces, including posters, furniture, toy boxes, books and cans.
Android Studio 3.1, the official integrated development environment, now supports ARCore within its emulator. This allows developers to test their apps in a virtual environment directly from a desktop computer.
Google has also partnered with Snapchat to create an immersive experience that brings the user into FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium.
This demo version will be shown at Mobile World Congress, says Google. Afterwards in mid-March, the company will make the experience more broadly available to all Snapchat users globally, on any Snapchat compatible device, through Snapcodes.
“Through this collaboration, we’ve built a Lens experience that is totally immersive and unique.”
“Through this collaboration, we’ve built a Lens experience that is totally immersive and unique, transporting Snapchatters onto FC Barcelona’s legendary Camp Nou,” said Eitan Pilipski, vice president of Snap’s camera platform, in a press statement.
“The Snapchat community sees our camera an entry point to exploration, and we’re thrilled to be working with partners like Google to push our Lens product even further forward with the latest technologies available and bring to life a perspective that fans may never otherwise experience or explore.”
Sotheby’s International Realty app now lets users visualize different rooms inside their home, while Porsche’s Mission E Concept app lets users place a vehicle right in a driveway and explore how it works. Sony’s Ghostbusters World, based on the film franchise also has an AR app coming soon.
ARCore now works on 13 Android devices: the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+, Note 8, S7 and S7 Edge, LG’s V30 and V30 Plus (with Android O only), Asus’ ZenFone AR and the OnePlus 5.
Google is also partnering with additional manufacturers — such as Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola, Asus, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile and Vivo — to enable ARCore on their phones this year
In the coming weeks, Google Lens preview, the live functionality that allows users take a picture and get more information about what’s in the photo, is expanding to additional Android handsets.
A non-live version of Lens will also roll out to all Google Photos English-language users with the latest version of the Android app, as well as Apple devices running iOS 9 and above.
Over the coming weeks, the update will be available to users with compatible Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony and HMD/Nokia handsets. The update will also be available for English-language users in Canada, U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia, France, India, Italy, Spain and Singapore.
Since Google Lens’ launch, the company has added text selection features and the ability to create contacts and events from a photo with one tap.
Lens will also get improved support for recognizing common animal and plants, such as specific dog breeds and flowers.