Google’s new WebXR experiment lets you explore Earth from wherever you are

Google’s new WebXR experiment lets you explore Earth from wherever you are

by Lily White
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The app is surprisingly seamless considering it uses web-based AR and VR technology



Google has been working on a series of projects that feature WebXR, which brings together augmented and virtual reality on the web to make the technology more accessible and convenient to use.

This week, the company released three of the WebXR experiments: Measure Up, Sodar and Floom.

Floom is my favourite of the bunch. It’s a fun little tool that lets you fulfill your childhood dream of digging through the earth and ending up on the other side — or maybe you just fall into the empty abyss (wink-wink-nudge-nudge flat Earthers).

Floom’s concept is rather simple: you direct your camera, tap the tornado that appears, watch it dig a hole and voila, you’re on the other side of Earth, ready to explore what that location offers with the integrated Google Maps.

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My experience testing the app was surprisingly entertaining. Depending on where I was in my house or what angle I was slicing through earth, I’d reach different locations. I roamed around the coastal city of Jayapura in Indonesia, saw the intermittent salt lake ‘Lake Barlee’ in Australia, which looked extremely dry and devoid of water. Lastly, I took a trip down to Fiji’s political, economic and cultural centre, Suva.

The app worked seamlessly, considering the fact it uses AR and VR technology on a webpage.

Below is a little more information about other web-based AR and VR apps that Google released:

    • Measure Up uses WebXR to help calculate the length, area and volume of objects you point your phone’s camera at, similar to Apple’s Measure app.
    • Sodar works on the same fundamentals that Measure Up uses. The app’s function is to help you socially distance by calculating what 2m looks like from your perspective.
    • Picturescape hasn’t been released yet, but Google’s blog post about it reads, “Picturescape turns your Google Photos library into an immersive gallery so you can explore your memories in augmented reality.â€

To test out any of these apps, you’ll need an Android phone with the latest version of Google Chrome installed. To learn more about WebXR experiments, click here.

Image credit: Google

Source: Google

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