Google is today taking a significant step towards democratizing Augmented Reality for Android users. The company is bringing its AR platform — ARCore out of beta to a bunch of phones. In addition to that, Google Lens is no longer exclusive to their own Pixel line of phones either. It’s now available for everyone as an option inside the Google Photos app.
ARCore, which was unveiled way back in August last year, is now compatible with a range of non-Pixel smartphones including all the recent Samsung Galaxy flagships (S8, S8+, Note8, S7 and S7 Edge), Asus Zenfone AR, OnePlus 5, and the LG V30/V30 Plus as long as they’re on the latest Oreo update. All of these together account for about 100 Million users, although Google says it’s working with more partners to make it available on other phones too. In addition to that, there are a couple of new upgrades for ARCore itself. For starters, it will now allow you to superimpose objects onto roughly any surface, not just flat ones.
Being out of beta, developers can now upload their ARCore titles to Play Store for everyone to download. There are a handful of apps who have already announced support for the platform. Most importantly, Snapchat has been updated to leverage ARCore’s flexible capabilities for integrating much more efficiently with phones. Moreover, the app has a new experience that lets you digitally place yourself in the football club, Barcelona FC’s Camp Nou stadium. “In China, place furniture and over 100,000 other pieces with Easyhome Homestyler, see items and place them in your home when you shop on JD.com or play games from NetEase, Wargaming and Game Insight.”, added Anuj Gosalia, Director of Engineering, AR, Google, added further in a blog post.
However, the more exciting announcement is the arrival of Google Lens to roughly all the iOS (iOS 9 or above) and Android users. The feature essentially lets you scrutinize any image from the Photos app to find out, for instance, a dog’s breed or a flower’s name. You can simply open an image, tap the little Lens icon on the bottom and off it goes. In the coming weeks, Google says Lens will be also accessible directly from Assistant just like it is now on the Pixel phones. To get the feature, head over to the Play Store and update the Google Photos (Android/iOS) app.