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Google brings AR stickers to Android phones
February 11, 2018, 12:59 pm

Google announced through a blog post last week that it would support augmented reality stickers in the Motion Stills app.

The feature, which was first introduced exclusively on the Google’s flagship Pixel 2 phones late last year, added the ability to insert AR versions of characters from Star Wars and Stranger Things directly into pictures and videos. The Motion Stills version is less advanced, and does not use the company’s ARCore platform, nevertheless it takes advantage of a device’s existing accelerometers and gyroscopes to achieve a similar effect, by ‘sticking’ a virtual object on a flat plane (like a table or a hand) and tracking the location of the device to accurately show the object.

The net result looks similar to what the Pixel 2 can do, allowing users to insert polygonal chickens, robots, and dinosaurs into scenes. Motion Stills also lets users take GIFs and videos with the stickers inserted, making it easy to share online.

The update is available now for Android users on any recent device with a gyroscope and is probably another hint of Google’s increased presence in the Augmented and Virtual Reality field.

Last month Google unveiled its experimental effort to integrate augmented reality (AR) features into the mobile and desktop web using its Chrome browser, allowing web designers, media organizations, and other creative professionals to create virtual 3D objects and embed them into websites for viewing on desktop. The 3D objects could also be made downloadable on mobile so that users could place those objects into their real world surroundings.

“In the next few months, there will be hundreds of millions of Android and iOS devices that are able to provide augmented reality experiences — meaning you’ll be able to look at the world through your phone, and place digital objects wherever you look. For example, we can surf the web, find a model, place it in our room to see just how large it truly is, and physically walk around it,” said Google through a recent blog post.

It is easy to imagine how neat this could be for all manner of activities, from entertainment to education. Just being able to load a Wikipedia page for the Moon landing, and drop a 3D model of an astronaut in a classroom would be a fascinating new way to teach children with interactive experiments.

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