At this year's I/O conference, Google revealed the latest developments in its mobile augmented reality platform, ARCore. The latest update, 1.2, will add a number of features to improve both the usability and the developer environment of the platform:
- Sceneform: a new method for building 3D scenes bypassing complicated APIs such as OpenGL. Empowers many more mobile app developers who use Java to enter the 3D AR space.
- Vertical Plane Detection: a versatile feature allowing the placement of AR images onto flat or textured vertical surfaces, such as walls.
But the most exciting part of ARCore 1.2 is a new cross-platform feature named "cloud anchoring". An unprecedented development in mobile AR, two or more users will be able to share AR images in the same physical space with the addition of cloud anchors.
Cloud anchors should be of particular interest to any developer or brand who plans to implement (or continue to implement) AR features into an app available across both Android and iOS app stores. As AR features continue to increase in popularity in the mobile entertainment market, the ability to market experiences as collaborative, social, and fully platform-agnostic will dramatically increase the value of a given app to consumers with friends spread across various mobile ecosystems. This is a relatively simple and effective way for brands to differentiate themselves from competing applications which lack cross-platform functionality.
For instance, an AR mobile game involving interaction with a digital object such as an avatar or projectile could be shared with another user. This would enable both parties to see and interact with the same image, regardless of their respective operating systems.