AR animals came to the Google app at just the right moment earlier this year, when many of us were stuck inside due to the pandemic and in need of cheering up. Since the feature first launched in April, Google has steadily added to the available creatures with various mammals, insects, fish, birds, and even several species of dinosaur. The latest critters all have one thing in common: they hail from down under.
Even if stay-at-home orders are slowly lifting all around the globe, we're mostly supposed to stay inside to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. But that shouldn't stop us from exploring things we'd normally see in museums or shops thanks to 3D models available in Google Search on Android and iOS. We've already covered which animals and pets you can lure into your home, but if you and your kids get tired of acting as an amateur zoologist, there is a whole world to explore, starting with planets and space crafts courtesy of NASA over anatomy all the way to shopping for shoes, and most recently, chemistry models.
Last year during Google I/O (it feels so long ago), Google introduced AR animal models you can put into your home, available right through Google Search without requiring extra software. Over the following year, the company has added many more 3D models to its library, including skeletons, planets and other celestial bodies, NASA equipment, anatomic models, cell structures, and many more. Now Google has expanded the list of supported 3D models with chemistry terms.
Google presented AR objects in Search with much fanfare during its developer conference last year, and it probably would've loved to talk about additions and improvements during this year's I/O. With the event canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company has instead shared some news on the feature via a blog post. In it, Google shows off new 3D objects, such as additional anatomic models and magnified views of cells. There are also new capabilities for the viewer.
Linear, two-dimensional advertising remains the norm today, but it soon may give way to more immersive, three-dimensional experiences that incorporate augmented reality and interactive elements. Google has just announced some new tools for brands to take advantage of to up their engagement game both in web ads and on YouTube — we think you should be aware of them.
Now that renders have shown what the G8 ThinQ will look like, LG has revealed more about the upcoming flagship that will be unveiled at MWC. The new handset will feature a time-of-flight sensor, which is expected to offer fast and precise facial recognition.
Lytro is probably most well-known for making visually interesting "light-field" cameras, but it has taken that technology in a different direction more recently. The company is now developing high-end VR capture and processing technology, and Google is reportedly very interested in that. According to TechCrunch, Google is in the process of buying Lytro for $40 million.
Sony's phones used to stand out from the crowd thanks to features like water-resistance and high-resolution camera sensors. Now, everyone has those. So, what's next for Sony? Maybe a 3D depth sensor pointed at your face. Sony subsidiary SoftKinetic, which makes advanced camera sensors, is set to demo such a device at MWC Shanghai this week.
Cosmic Watch is not a watch face, or even a conventional clock app. It's an app that models the Earth, the solar system, and most of the familiar constellations in 3D specifically as they relate to both real time and any point in the past. It's also stunningly beautiful - you don't often see educational apps with such a focus on aesthetic beauty. The screenshots really don't do it justice; check out the video below:
The app is equally concerned with current astronomy and time-keeping and the more classical astrology, at least as it relates to the real model of the universe - there aren't any horoscopes telling you that you'll meet tall, dark strangers.
Back in April, some Project Tango invitees reported that the tablet development kit's price had dropped from $1024 down to the "special price" of $512. In an email notification to invited buyers, Google advised, "We're opening up sales more broadly, so now is the last chance to buy the device we've reserved for you."
Evidently Google wasn't joking, as today Project Tango can be bought for the same $512 price invite-free from the Google Store.
Dropping the invitation requirement just one day before the 2015 I/O keynote is certainly an interesting move, and may suggest that Google will have more to tell us about its 3D sensing and tracking efforts during the conference.