from the where-is-the-restroom? dept.
As a kid, I always wanted to be on the TV show "Supermarket Sweep."
In the middle of a Lowe's store in 2017, my dream almost came true. The home improvement retailer is rolling out an augmented-reality app that tells you the fastest way to find items on your list.
It's powered by Google's Tango, an indoor-mapping technology using special cameras to sense depth in 3D space. Measure objects, map a room and see virtual objects in the real world with augmented reality.
With a phone in one hand and a shopping cart in the other, I'm rushing around the aisles pulling items off the shelf. On screen I see a yellow line overlaid on the camera image, navigating me to the next item on my list. There's an aisle and shelf number in case I get really confused, as well as an estimate step counter that tells me how far I have to go.
Google said today that it'll be shutting down Project Tango next year, on March 1st. Project Tango was an early effort from Google to bring augmented reality to phones, but it never really panned out. The system was introduced in 2014 and made it into developer kits and even a couple consumer devices as recently as last year.
But those devices required special sensors. And in the meantime, Google (and competitors, like Apple) figured out ways to bring AR features to phones with just the hardware that's already on board. Google introduced a new augmented reality system, known as ARCore, in late August. It just brought that system to the Pixel and Pixel 2 in the form of some augmented reality stickers — immediately opening AR features to more people than Tango is likely to have reached in its lifetime.
Related: Google's Project Tango Coming to 12 More Countries
Google Tango Means You'll Never Get Lost in a Store Again
Google Announces "Lens" Augmented Reality Service
Google Partnering With HTC and Lenovo for Standalone VR Headsets
HTC Cancels U.S. Release of a Google Daydream VR Headset, Reveals Own Standalone Headset