With the rapid evolution of technology, companies and stakeholders are racing to immerse customers in this new world. Google, the most popular search engine, is actively participating in this experience. The company is launching its own Augmented Reality (AR) venture and preparing for an exciting customer journey.

To achieve its goals, Google is arranging for many partnerships, including with Samsung and Qualcomm. Among the aims is to provide customers with a great experience with holographic telepresence booths and assistive glasses. The most important focus, however, is to improve the overall Google Maps experience — a welcomed endeavor, to be sure.

The Augmented Reality of Google

AR is not a new or unknown concept for Google, as it began incorporating it into its maps years ago. However, the company has now announced new map features that offer customers a 3D view of their surroundings. Its aim is to provide more real-world experiences drawn from specific locations (companies, buildings, etc.) with new creative tools.

Google is not the only company to be diving into the AR space. In fact, many other companies have already explored location-specific AR games and apps. An example would be “Pokémon Go,” which has implemented this technology for concerts, sports, games and art. Snapchat has also developed location-based games, filters and even live concert experiences. Google itself experimented with AR concerts last year.

Combining 3D With Maps

Google aims to give its customers a bird's-eye view of their routes using 3D-generated renders. For now, this feature is limited to major locales.

Currently, in order to benefit the traveler, Google is focused on adding 3D details on a daily basis, with many choices at the ready. Customers see visualize how a route will appear at different times of the day, by adjusting the time slider. Additionally, they can access air quality information, weather changes and even monitor road traffic by monitoring the exact number of cars at any given time.

This multidimensional experience of routes, sidewalks, bike lanes, intersections, and parking requires advanced technology. That’s why Google depends a lot on Computer Vision and AI to fuse aerial images and billions of Street Views together.

In this AR journey, Google is leveraging both 3D Maps and the Google Earth platform to build location-based AR in other apps. The company envisions a future where all augmented reality seamlessly integrates into a map-based interface.

A Maps Layer for Future AR Headsets

Many companies are venturing into AR headsets. However, because Google works with both IOS and Android, it is unique in its crossing of platforms. With this advantage, Google AR can incrementally expand and accumulate years of gradual progress and development.

Will Customers Use AR?

But alas, amidst this technological competition, will consumers embrace such AR applications?

Some experts express concerns that AR apps on phones may go unnoticed. Nevertheless, face filters and pop-up experiences sometimes have the potential to go viral.

As Apple prepares to release a projected headset for 2023, it is possible that a similar move will be made at Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple's Reality Kit with its AR tools, including its native location-dependent Maps capabilities, may offer comparable and competing features. And of course, the Apple headset could be working with Google's AR tools as well, much like the iPhone.

Indeed, with all this development and competition, the race is on. One thing is sure: such an exploration of Augmented Reality is bound to take customers on an impressive journey.

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