Apparently, it's Google Week for the augmented reality business.
Now that ARCore has a firm foothold in the app ecosystem, Google is making a case with educators and marketers that the apps should have a place in schools and campaigns, and the company is also encouraging developers to learn how to build apps using ARCore.
Elsewhere, former Google subsidiary Niantic is preparing its own platform that promises next-generation capabilities like computer vision-enabled occlusion, and Next Games is ready to launch its own location-based game built on Google's mapping technology.
On Tuesday, at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Chicago, Google countered Apple's recent positioning of a cheaper iPad and AR apps for schools with its own ecosystem for educational augmented reality.
In a similar AR push, directed at a different sector, last week, Google extolled the virtues of ARCore to advertisers and creatives at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Finally, with a new version of its ARCore in the wild and more than 40 Android devices now supporting it, Google is helping beginners get up to speed with augmented reality.
REALITY BITES: For developers looking for higher education in augmented reality, the UK's University of Hull has begun offering summer school classes for the Microsoft HoloLens. "We believe strongly in the potential offered by programs that involve not just education, but also industry and private business as well," said John Hemingway, the director of ICT at the University of Hull. "The Mixed Reality Accelerator is a great example of this."
Location-based gaming pioneer Niantic has offered a preview of its augmented reality cloud platform that could change the immersive content game yet again.
Previously disclosed by Niantic CEO John Hanke in an interview, the Niantic Real World Platform for mobile apps enables not only multiplayer, cross-platform augmented reality experiences, but also facilitates environmental understanding for occlusion, or the ability for AR content to appear in front of or disappear behind objects in the real world.
The platform is built on computer vision technology from Escher Reality, which Niantic acquired in February, and Matrix Mill, whose acquisition Niantic announced on Thursday. Escher Reality takes care of the multiplayer aspect of the platform, while Matrix Mill, whose computer vision technology can interpret a user's immediate surroundings through one or more cameras, supplies the environmental understanding.
Keep reading to find out more about Niantic's new platform and its implications in the growing AR cloud arena...
REALITY BITES: BASF Venture Capital has invested a whopping $4.4 million in San Francisco-based augmented reality startup RE'FLEKT, a company Next Reality covered during the recent AWE conference. The investment follows the investment in RE'FLEKT in 2015 by Bosch. Following this newest investment, RE'FLEKT co-founder Wolfgang Stelzle said, "The investments from two of the world's largest industrial companies validate our leading position in the Augmented Reality market."
While it has been slower to arrive than a walker limping through thick Georgia mud, location-based augmented reality game Walking Dead: Our World finally has a confirmed launch date: July 12.
Along with a release date, the game's publisher, Next Games, has provided a few more details on gameplay. Also, to whet the appetites of Walking Dead fans, Next Games has released a new trailer, which promises the game will dominate player's everyday lives.
But how will the game perform from a business perspective compared to the godfather of the location-based AR gaming genre? Read on for our prediction...
REALITY BITES: Speaking of location-based AR gaming, the genre has given rise to problems in the past regarding trespassing and unlawful entry. Now, Jennifer Huddleston Skees, a legal research associate for the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, dives into the future legal implications of AR as it meets the real world.
Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.