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Google gets into augmented reality with ARCore

App-building platform supports Android Studio, Unity, Unreal out of the gate, works with millions of existing phones

Apple announced its push to bring augmented reality to iPhones with the ARKit tool in June, so it seemed only a matter of time before Google responded with something to help Android developers tackle the emerging field. That happened today, as Google unviled ARCore, a software dev kit integrating a handful of key features for those looking to build AR apps on Android devices.

Currently released in early preview form for developers, ARCore combines motion tracking, light estimation, and the ability to identify the size and position of flat spaces like tabletops, the floor, or ceilings.

"ARCore's understanding of the real world lets you place objects, annotations, or other information in a way that integrates seamlessly with the real world," the company explained on its developer site. "You can place a napping kitten on the corner of your coffee table, or annotate a painting with biographical information about the artist. Motion tracking means that you can move around and view these objects from any angle, and even if you turn around and leave the room, when you come back, the kitten or annotation will be right where you left it."

At the moment, ARCore supports Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and the Samsung Galaxy S8, though the company hopes to expand on that selection greatly during the course of the SDK preview. ARCore also works with Android Studio, Unity, and Unreal, and can be used for specially designed websites. According to Wired, Google has produced a demo website for home furnishing store Wayfair where a user can identify a three-dimensional empty space in their home and the site will render an appropriately sized piece of furniture in that gap, which the user can examine from all angles to see how it fits the room.

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