Google’s already very impressive ARCore is about to get even more impressive. At Google I/O 2019, the company announced a series of changes to ARCore that should make it a little more stable and helpful when images are moving around and when it comes to how ARCore handles the movement of light.
Perhaps the biggest update to ARCore comes in the form of an update to Augmented Images, which is an API that allows users to point their cameras at 2D images, after which those images will come to life on the screen. Now, the Augmented Images API can track moving images — not just stationary ones — which could help make for much more immersive and realistic experiences.
At Google I/O 2018, Google added light estimation to ARCore, and now it’s giving that concept an update. The goal here is to make AR a little more realistic — and as such Google has added “Environmental HDR” to the Light Estimation API. With Environmental HDR, ARCore can use machine learning to estimate where the light is coming from in an image — and with that information can create more realistic digital changes to a scene by adding accurate shadows, highlights, and reflections.
Last but not least is the addition of Scene Viewer, which is essentially a way for users to jump into using Augmented Reality straight from a website — and without having to download a separate app. This will be particularly helpful as part of Google Search — soon, you might be able to see how a couch looks in your living room, for example, without leaving Google Search. Augmented reality search results will start showing up in Google Search later this year, though it will likely be a while before the function is widely supported.
Google is likely to continue working on ARCore over the next few years, as augmented reality in general is tipped to become increasingly important. Eventually, it’s possible that the AR tech that Google is working on now will play a role in potential AR glasses or other augmented reality products — though it will likely be some time before products like that are ready for consumer release.