October 7, 2020 – Google has recently announced that as part of its ARCore 1.20 update, the platform’s persistent Cloud Anchors feature will now be widely available to android, iOS and Unity mobile developers.
In 2018, Google introduced the Cloud Anchors API in ARCore, which lets people across devices view and share the same augmented reality (AR) content in real-world spaces. Since then, the company states that it has been working on new ways for developers to use Cloud Anchors to make AR content persistent and more easily discoverable. Last year for example, Google previewed persistent Cloud Anchors through the MARK social platform, which allows people to leave AR messages in real world locations for friends and return to these AR experiences over and again.
Google has announced that MARK is now available globally and that it will be launching the MARK Hope Campaign in the US to help people raise funds for their favorite charities and have their donations matched for a limited time.
Google added that as developers use Cloud Anchors to attach more AR experiences to the world, the company also wants to make it easier for people to discover them. As a result, in addition to the availability of persistent Cloud Anchors, Google has also announced that it is working on a new feature called ‘earth Cloud Anchors’. The new earth Cloud Anchors will use AR and global localization—the underlying technology that powers Live View features on Google Maps—to guide users to AR content.
In a blog post about ARCore 1.20, Google also highlighted other experiences that are making use of persistent Cloud Anchors:
REWILD Our Planet by PHORIA
REWILD Our Planet is an AR nature series produced by Melbourne based studio PHORIA. The experience is based on the Netflix original documentary series Our Planet. REWILD uses Ultra High Definition Video alongside AR content to let users venture into earth’s unique habitats and interact with endangered wildlife. The experience originally launched in museums, but users can enjoy it from the comfort of their own home using a smartphone. Furthermore, as episodes of the show are released, persistent Cloud Anchors allow users to return to the same spot in their homes to see how nature is changing.
Changdeok ARirang by SK Telecom and Nexus Studios
Changdeok ARirang is an AR tour guide app that combines the power of SK Telecom’s 5G with persistent Cloud Anchors. Visitors at Changdeokgung Palace in South Korea are guided by legendary Haechi (imaginary animals) to relevant locations where they can experience historical and cultural AR content. Changdeok ARirang at Home was also launched so that the experience could be accessed from a user’s own home.
SJ Labs by SJ – Swedish Railways
In Sweden, SJ Labs, the innovation arm of Swedish Railways, together with Bontouch, its tech innovation partner, utilizes persistent Cloud Anchors to help passengers find their way at Central Station in Stockholm, making it easier and faster for them to make their train departures.
Lowe’s Persistent View powered by Streem
Coming soon, Lowe’s Persistent View will let users design their home in AR with the help of an expert. Users will be able to add furniture and appliances to different areas of a home environment to see how the items would look, and return to the experience as many times as needed before making a purchase.
For developers interested in building AR experiences that last over time, click here to learn more about persistent Cloud Anchors through Google’s documentation.
For developers interested in early access to test the earth Cloud Anchors feature, click here to apply.
Video credit: Google / YouTube
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.