Google Chrome Is Getting AR API, Daydream Support

by Jamie Feltham • May 18th, 2017

Chrome is one of the first internet browsers to fully embrace WebVR, allowing you to head to certain web pages and then put on a Cardboard or Daydream headset to instantly access VR content. But what about WebAR?

Such a concept doesn’t actually exist — at least not yet — but Google is starting to look into the idea. Today, the company is releasing an augmented reality API for Chromium. For now it’s an experimental build, much in the same way early releases of WebVR support were, but it should allow developers to start toying with the idea of what AR means for the web. Imagine going to an online furniture retailer, for example, and with a few simple clicks being able to place a virtual couch in your living room.

Full realising that type of content is likely a ways off, and will require phones that support systems like Google’s own Tango platform. Currently seen in the Lenovo Phab Pro 2 smartphone, the system includes depth-sensing cameras that allow a camera to move through the real world with virtual objects remaining in their correct position. Right now there are a handful of apps that support the tech, but with web integration the amount of experiences for it could rapidly grow.

Elsewhere, Chrome’s VR story isn’t over yet, either. This summer the Chrome browser will arrive as an app for Daydream, meaning you can access web pages without heaving to remove your headset. Details are scarce, but if this allows for seamless transition between reading traditional pages and entering WebVR then that’s big news. Chrome could be a major app for those new standalone Daydream headsets that Google is developing.

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