Tag Archives: Google AR & VR

Bring iconic Japanese characters to life with AR in Search

We all need a bit of escapism sometimes, and there’s nothing like a blast from the pop-culture past to do the trick. Today, we’re bringing characters from classic Japanese anime, games and TV shows to life — from Pac-Man to Hello Kitty — with augmented reality (AR) in Search. 


Japan’s anime and video game culture emerged between the 1950s and the 1980s, as comic books, gaming arcades and home TVs and consoles boomed. But it wasn’t just a Japanese phenomenon. The most iconic characters caught people’s imaginations around the world, and they’re still hugely popular today. 


Which animated icon is most searched on Google? Pac-Man leads the pack by a long way: worldwide search interest in the hungry dot-gobbler is more than double the next most-searched character, Hello Kitty. What might surprise you is that the top country for search interest in Pac-Man over the past five years was...Peru. Hello Kitty is most searched in the Philippines. 


When it comes to the broader trends, anime wins out. It’s more popular than video games worldwide, with interest for anime climbing to its highest peak on record in the past month. That’s pretty amazing — and in fact, search interest for “anime sugoi” (or “anime is amazing”) has spiked 2,300% in the past five years globally.
An animated world map showing search interest in anime characters over the past five years

Now, you can have these characters do their cute thing right in front of your eyes. Take a break to watch ghosts chasing after Pac-Man or Gundam swoop in your living room! Characters that are viewable in AR include Evangelion, Hello Kitty, Gomora, Gundam, Pac-Man and Ultraman. (For die-hard otaku who can read Japanese, check out our Japanese blog with the full list.)

An animation showing how the Japanese anime characters will look in augmented reality on Google Search

How to access and share:

Search for one of the characters on Google using a mobile device and tap “View in 3D” to rotate or zoom in and see it up close. You can then bring the characters from outer space into your space with AR and turn up your volume to hear Hello Kitty deliver a cute message, or Pac-man's retro sound effects.

  • Android: Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app or any Android browser and tap “View in 3D.” You can see 3D content on devices with Android 7 Plus and you can see AR content on ARCore-enabled devices.
  • iOS:  Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app. 3D and AR content is available on iOS 11.0+ devices.
You can also create AR videos — or recreate your favorite scenes — with the recording option. Don’t forget to tag your photos and videos on social with #Google3D.

Source: Search


Experiment with AR and VR made for the web

Augmented and virtual reality are opening up the possibilities of how we interact with the world and information around us. WebXR brings together AR and VR on the web to make them more convenient and widely accessible.

Today on the Experiments with Google platform, we’re launching the new WebXR collection to showcase what is possible with this technology — from helpful utilities to get things done, to playful and immersive experiences:

From left to right: Sodar, Measure Up, Floom and Picturescape

Sodar helps to visualize social distancing. By activating a personal augmented reality radar from your browser, you can see what six feet (or two meters) looks like in any environment.

With Measure Up, you can calculate the length, area and volume of the things around you without using a tape measure. 

Floom is a fun new way to explore the planet, built with WebXR and Google Maps. Open your browser to tunnel through the earth and see what’s on the other side.

And coming soon, Picturescape turns your Google Photos library into an immersive gallery so you can explore your memories in augmented reality.

All you need to try these experiments is a supported Android device and the latest Chrome browser.

Check them out now and submit your own at g.co/webXR.

Source: Google Chrome


A new audio guide for our Augmented Reality Galleries

Since we launched our first Pocket Gallery in 2018, people all over the world have used the augmented reality (AR) feature to explore virtual art galleries ranging from Vermeer to Indian miniatures. With many of us missing the opportunities to explore, we have now collaborated with cultural institutions including the Jean Pigozzi Collection and J. Paul Getty Museum to create three new Pocket Galleries - one of which includes a brand new audio guide feature. Just open the camera tab in the Google Arts & Culture  app to get started.


The virtual exhibition space of Jean Pigozzi’s Pocket Gallery invites you to discover highlights from its African and Japanese collections  featuring 40 of its most important artworks ranging from renowned painter Chéri Samba to emerging new talent. These treasures are frequently lent to museums across the globe, but until now have never had a dedicated building of their own, making this Pocket Gallery a truly unique space.
Image of the inside of the Getty AR Pocket Gallery

Continue your journey with a Pocket Gallery presented by the J. Paul Getty Museum, bringing together celebrated works across 200 years of art history. Here you’ll meet cheerful crowds welcoming you to join, whether you’re craving music and merriment, dinner gatherings, or a city stroll. Dive in and experience the joys of dancing with Henri Rousseau, stolen kisses with Jean-Antoine Watteau, and concerts with Gerrit van Honthorst, all from the iconic LA-based collection.

A new way to experience a virtual exhibition space is by using sound and narration -  a feature we are testing first with the guided “Brushes with the World” Pocket Gallery. Here, in each room a narrator will give a short introduction as you follow along on a tour of larger-than-life artworks. Gaze upon immersive landscapes - from Georgia O’Keeffe’s dreamy depiction of Machu Picchu to Hokusai’s majestic vision of Mount Fuji - and take in the city views of  Zaha Hadid’s London or Habeeb Andu’s Lagos. As you approach each masterpiece, you will hear a bespoke soundscape inspired by the locations and objects in the paintings. Some paintings are even accompanied by additional commentary to help you learn more along your voyage. Featuring artworks from 27 cultural partner institutions that depict scenes across 24 countries. This gallery is available now on Android and coming soon on iOS.

Together, with our partners, we are always experimenting to find new ways to bring people closer to art and culture and we hope these new Pocket Galleries will help you - not just to explore a diverse set of artworks, but also to feel connected to destinations around the world. 


Find the galleries in the Camera Tab of the free Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS and jump inside to explore each one from there.

Music, Makers & Machines

In 1895, Thaddeus Cahill, an inventor from Iowa, started work on the world’s first electromechanical musical instrument. Weighing in at 200 tons and measuring 60 feet long, the Telharmonium was a colossal machine for producing and sharing music on the telephone.


In the 126 years since, electronic music has evolved in similarly bold and ingenious ways, a testament to the magic that occurs when human beings build and interact with machines. We listen to it while working out, riding the subway, studying for exams — and hopefully soon again at the clubs and festivals that have made it what it is today.


Music, Makers & Machines, the new exhibit from Google Arts & Culture and YouTube, celebrates the history of electronic music: its inventors, artists, sounds and technology. More than 50 international institutions, record labels, festivals and industry experts have come together to capture the crucial role electronic music plays within wider culture, from the WDR Studio for Electronic Music to Blacktronika to the “Diva of the Diodes” Suzanne Ciani. There are more than 250 online exhibitions, an extensive archive of photos, videos, 360° tours and 3D-scanned objects, including synthesizers and the door of Berlin’s legendary Tresor techno club.


In the spirit of pioneers like Cahill, you can also compose your own electronic music. Use the augmented reality feature of AR Synth to mix and match five famous synthesizers in a virtual electronic music studio.


MUSIC: Let’s get to know some of the legendary tracks and artists:

MAKERS: Go behind the scenes in studios and see iconic inventors in action:

MACHINES: Play with the instruments that made the tunes: 


Electronic music brings people together from all walks of life and from all over the world. Its community has always been one of creativity and shared experiences. And while it may take a while until club doors open again, fans and musicians keep connected through new online forums and formats.


We hope that Music, Makers & Machines will let you explore and appreciate the stories of electronic music and celebrate the creativity of its makers. Find the project on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android and at g.co/musicmakersmachines .

The best hardware, software and AI—together

Today, we introduced our second generation family of consumer hardware products that are coming to Canada, all made by Google: new Pixel phones, Google Home Mini and Max, an all new Pixelbook, Google Pixel Buds, and an updated Daydream View headset. We see tremendous potential for devices to be helpful, make your life easier, and even get better over time when they’re created at the intersection of hardware, software and advanced artificial intelligence (AI). 

Why Google? 
These days many devices—especially smartphones—look and act the same. That means in order to create a meaningful experience for users, we need a different approach. A year ago, Sundar outlined his vision of how AI would change how people would use computers. And in fact, AI is already transforming what Google’s products can do in the real world. For example, swipe typing has been around for a while, but AI lets people use Gboard to swipe-type in two languages at once. Google Maps uses AI to figure out what the parking is like at your destination and suggest alternative spots before you’ve even put your foot on the gas. But, for this wave of computing to reach new breakthroughs, we have to build software and hardware that can bring more of the potential of AI into reality—which is what we’ve set out to do with this year’s new family of products.

Hardware, built from the inside out 
We’ve designed and built our latest hardware products around a few core tenets. First and foremost, we want them to be radically helpful. They’re fast, they’re there when you need them, and they’re simple to use. Second, everything is designed for you, so that the technology doesn’t get in the way and instead blends into your lifestyle. Lastly, by creating hardware with AI at the core, our products can improve over time. They’re constantly getting better and faster through automatic software updates. And they’re designed to learn from you, so you’ll notice features—like the Google Assistant—get smarter and more assistive the more you interact with them.

You’ll see this reflected in our 2017 lineup of new Made by Google products:

  • The Pixel 2 has the best camera of any smartphone, again, along with a gorgeous display and augmented reality capabilities. Pixel owners get unlimited storage for their photos and videos, and an exclusive preview of Google Lens, which uses AI to give you helpful information about the things around you. 
  • Google Home Mini brings the Assistant to more places throughout your home, with a beautiful design that fits anywhere. And Max, which is coming later to Canada, is our biggest and best-sounding Google Home device, powered by the Assistant. And with AI-based Smart Sound, Max has the ability to adapt your audio experience to you—your environment, context, and preferences. 
  • With Pixelbook, we’ve reimagined the laptop as a high-performance Chromebook, with a versatile form factor that works the way you do. It’s the first laptop with the Assistant built in, and the Pixelbook Pen makes the whole experience even smarter. 
  • Our new Pixel Buds combine Google smarts and the best digital sound. You’ll get elegant touch controls that put the Assistant just a tap away, and they’ll even help you communicate in a different language. 
  • The updated Daydream View is the best mobile virtual reality (VR) headset on the market, and the simplest, most comfortable VR experience. 

Assistant, everywhere 
Across all these devices, you can interact with the Google Assistant any way you want—talk to it with your Google Home or your Pixel Buds, squeeze your Pixel 2, or use your Pixelbook’s Assistant key or circle things on your screen with the Pixelbook Pen. Wherever you are, and on any device with the Assistant, you can connect to the information you need and get help with the tasks to get you through your day. No other assistive technology comes close, and it continues to get better every day.

Google’s hardware business is just getting started, and we’re committed to building and investing for the long run. We couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to our second-generation family of products that truly brings together the best of Google software, thoughtfully designed hardware with cutting-edge AI. We hope you enjoy using them as much as we do.

Availability
Here’s some more info on where and when you can get our new hardware in Canada. Visit The Google Store for more info.

  • Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are available for pre-order today, starting at $899, on The Google Store, Bell, Best Buy Canada, Fido, Freedom Mobile, Koodo, Rogers, The Source, TELUS, Tbooth wireless, Walmart, WIRELESSWAVE, Videotron, and Virgin. 
  • Pixel Buds will be available later this year for $219 on The Google Store and Best Buy Canada. 
  • Pixelbook is available in three configurations starting at $1299, so you can choose the processing power, memory and storage you want. The Pixelbook Pen is $129. Both will be available for pre-order today in Canada, with the exception of Quebec, and on sale at The Google Store and select retailers, including Best Buy Canada. We’re working to bring Pixelbook to Quebec in the future. 
  • Google Home Mini is available for pre-order today for $79 on The Google Store, Best Buy Canada and select retailers. 
  • The new Google Daydream View is available for pre-order today for $139 on The Google Store and select retailers. 

Posted by Rick Osterloh, SVP, Hardware