Innovation

Here's how Google plans to bring AR to desktop browsers

As augmented reality emerges for mobile use, the tech giant is trying to extend it to desktop users through Article, its desktop AR prototype.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Google is working to bring AR technology to desktop browsers.
  • Extending the technology to desktop users may increase its applications, as well as let developers and businesses reach a new market of those who may not use smartphones.

Google is working to make augmented reality (AR) a reality on desktop browsers, the company said in a blog post on Monday.

As AR use grows on mobile platforms, extending the technology to desktop users may increase consumer support and usage. Developers and businesses may be able to reach new markets, specifically people who may not use smartphones.

"To help bring (AR) to as many users as possible, we've been exploring how to bring augmented reality to the web platform, so someday anyone with a browser can access this new technology," the post said.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)

Google's AR prototype, called Article, is a 3D model viewer available for all browsers and built on Three.js. Desktop users can interact with the model by dragging or scrolling to rotate or zoom in on the image, the post said. Users will be able to see which images are available for interaction because the image will move slightly when it enters the screen.

Article requires an AR-capable device and browser to fully work. When correctly equipped, an AR button appears on the model to allow it to virtually appear in the user's camera. The user will be able to walk around the model and better understand its scale, the post said.

"The unique power of AR is to blend digital content with the real world," the post said. "So we can, for example, surf the web, find a model, place it in our room to see just how large it truly is, and physically walk around it."

Mobile apps currently using AR range in topic, from fantasy games to an IKEA app that virtually drops furniture in your home to show what it would look like. Desktop AR applications could fall along the same lines, potentially being used for shopping and education, the post said. With the ability to walk around the model via desktop, users may use it to test out furniture or to try on clothes without going to the store.

Clear interface cues have helped test users more easily understand how AR works, the post said. Easy use and clear instructions could be crucial because those working on desktop may not have had used the technology on mobile in the past.

Also see

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Image: Google

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is a Multiplatform Reporter at TechRepublic.

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