Today, augmented reality (AR) is typically a one-time product in which the user disappears after leaving or closing the application, requiring the user to restart and re-create the object. To that end, Google launched Cloud Anchors last year to create more durable AR objects. With the official launch of ARCore 1.20, Google today officially launched Earth Cloud Anchors.
Cloud Anchors was first announced at the 2018 I/O Developer Conference as a way to build collaborative AR applications. They work by allowing devices to create 3D feature maps based on visual data and allow access to other users. These experiences were previously useful only for a single session and disappeared after you closed the application/game.
Now, with ARCore 1.20’s Android, iOS and Unity mobile developers can use this feature widely. Some applications already support persistent cloud anchors, including:
SJ Labs: Help passengers find their way to Stockholm Central Station, making it easier and faster for them to start trains.
MARK: Let people leave AR messages in the real world so that friends, family, and their communities can discover them.
Changdeok ARirang: Visitors to the Changde Palace in South Korea are allowed to reach the relevant locations under the guidance of Haechi in the biography, where they can have high-fidelity AR content of their history and culture.
Meanwhile, Google is already working to make the feature easier to discover. Earth Cloud Anchors will use global localization technology that supports the direction of real-time views in Google Maps to “guide users to AR content.” Some AR experiences – whether historical entertainment or games – are related to the actual location. Earth Cloud Anchors will provide users with step-by-step instructions on where they are going.