Google set to bring AR functionality to Chrome

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Google looks set to take the next step in its effort to gain cross-platform AR superiority with a new product, currently title Article, with integrates AR into the Chrome browser.

In a blog post on its website by members of the Daydream WebXR team, the company says the move would help bring AR to “as many users as possible”:

“We've been exploring how to bring augmented reality to the web platform, so someday anyone with a browser can access this new technology.” 

Article is currently in its prototype stage as the company looks at how AR content works in a web-based setting, both in terms of the mobile and desktop browsers available today, and the more AR-enabled ones of the near future.

It seems that, in a move likely designed to compete with Apple’s ARKit, Google wants to bring some of the AR functionality into the browser itself.

The blog post goes on to say:

“The unique power of AR is to blend digital content with the real world. So we can, for example, surf the web, find a model, place it in our room to see just how large it truly is, and physically walk around it.”

Not the finished article

The Article prototype is a 3D model viewer that allows users to interact with 3D models. AR tech is then used to allow the user to use an AR-enabled device with a camera to place the model in the view of the space the user is in.

This means that users can gain a better understanding of how the model looks in real life. An example would be allowing the user to see a fully scaled representation of a wild animal in their living room, that they can then move around in real time.

Google is even planning to include subtle features such as shadows and realistic lighting to help the models blend into the surroundings.

Looking ahead, the company says:

“There’s vast potential for AR on the web—it could be used in shopping, education, entertainment, and more. Article is just one in a series of prototypes, and there’s so much left to explore—from using light estimation to more seamlessly blend 3D objects with the real world, to adding diegetic UI annotations to specific positions on the model. Mobile AR on the web is incredibly fun right now because there’s a lot to be discovered.”

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