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What is ARCore, Google's Metaverse Geospatial API?

ARCore is the augmented reality tech from Google that makes it possible to turn any place into a metaverse scenario using Google Maps.

Google stall at an event in Germany
Photo by Rajeshwar Bachu on Unsplash

According to the search giant, AR transforms how we shop, learn, navigate and experience the world. Artists and creators can use augmented reality as an immersive way to bring fans closer to their content in new ways, Google notes.

Google AR & VR

With Google ARCore, anyone can create and deploy Augmented Reality (AR) experiences at scale anchored in physical locations in more than 100 countries. That's because ARCore works with Street View data from Google Maps, providing access to global areas that users can use as "living canvases" for their scenarios, projects, and ideas, according to the company. In short, what Google is offering is an augmented reality metaverse platform.

AR makes it easy for users to locate virtual objects and avatars in the real world. Moreover, combined with the Google Maps Street View feature, it allows people to tour anywhere in the world via their smartphones from their couch at home without needing to be physically there. People can scan their surroundings with their phone's camera and locate existing virtual objects in those locations almost immediately. This technology compares to the open metaverse OVR, developed on the Ethereum blockchain. Like ARCore, OVR uses augmented reality to display virtual objects in the real world. With ARCore, Google is opening up a myriad of possibilities on a global scale.

Google has unveiled its ARCore technology to the world by hosting a concert by Gorillaz, one of the world's first virtual bands, created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett.

Concerts in New York and London

The concert occurred in New York and London, where Gorillaz musicians performed as giant avatars in a mixed experience. Google noted that Gorillaz took over Times Square (New York) and Piccadilly Circus (London) to offer immersive cultural experiences like never before seen in these public spaces. The concert, in collaboration with Nexus Studios. The result was the world's largest augmented reality concert using Google's ARCore Geospatial API.

People could access the Gorillaz augmented reality concert live via the free Gorillaz Presents app, available for Android and iOS devices. Although the live show took place on Saturday, the virtual music band's AR experience will be open until June 2023. Gorillaz band members Murdoc, 2D, Noodle, and Russel, shared their new single "Skinny Ape" with fans during the concert. The presentation of the tool and the band's new tracks took place in two of the world's most iconic locations and, according to Google, was a success.

Google also reported additional benefits for users using Android devices to connect to the ARCore Geospatial API. For example, exclusive images of the Gorillaz AR experience. Each of these images, Google noted, will allow people to relive the Gorillaz Presents action anywhere.

Collaboration with businesses

The Geospatial ARCore API was launched in May this year as an enhanced and much more tailored version of the 2019 ARCore Cloud Anchors API technology ARCore Cloud Anchors. Developers can use the ARCore API to create more immersive, rich, and valuable augmented reality-based experiences for users.

Google reported working with other companies and brands like the NBA, Snap, Lime, and Lyft to explore different use cases and applications for ARCore. Some options explored are in the education, entertainment, and utility space. For example, Lime, one of the world's largest electric vehicle-sharing companies, has tested ARCore in London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Bordeaux, Madrid, and San Diego. Google said they wanted to help e-scooter and electric bike users properly park their vehicles.

ARCore also has an open-source version that allows users and enthusiasts to explore their use cases for its augmented reality technology. Among the most prominent uses is Pocket Garden, enabling users to create colorful virtual gardens to adorn their neighborhoods.

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