Google ARCore and AR Stickers go live for Pixel 2 phones and OG Pixels running Android 8.1

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Google's for-the-masses approach to augmented reality (AR) is one step closer to reality with the official release of the ARCore framework and AR Stickers app for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices. Many of you might remember that not so long ago, Google's idea for AR on smartphones was confined to a much narrower scope that involved the use multiple cameras and depth sensors to achieve the effect. ARCore, however, takes a wholly different approach by aiming to be compatible with most Android phones out there. No dual cameras or special sensors needed.

And now Pixel 2 owners, as well as those rocking an OG Pixel running Android 8.1, can get a small taste of what's to come with the new AR Stickers pack. When you update the ARCore framework to the latest version and download the stickers pack (linked at the end of the article), you'll get a new option in the Camera app that says "AR Stickers." Tap that and you'll be able to drag and drop a bunch of 3D characters in your scene. The characters include familiar faces from Star Wars and Stranger Things, anthropomorphic fast food items, and customizable floating 3D text, among other things.

Unfortunately, the image quality when using AR Stickers is visibly decreased and you can't tap to focus, meaning that close-ups are off the table right now. Google is likely doing this to ensure good all-around performance at launch. Otherwise, you can change the size of the 3D characters by pinching with your fingers, move them up and down by swiping with two fingers, and rotate them by spinning clockwise or counterclockwise with two fingers. You can also drop multiple characters on-screen and watch them goof together.

A nice touch from Google, albeit nothing groundbreaking, is the fact AR objects react to environmental lighting changes environmental light in real time. For example, if your scene is darker, the 3D character won't be appear unnaturally bright (as has been the case with Snapchat filters, for example), but will be adjusted to fit in with, more or less.

If you want to try out the new AR Stickers, you need a Pixel 2 or an OG Pixel running Android 8.1. Just visit the Play Store links below to update the ARCore framework and download the AR Stickers app.

AR Core  |  AR Stickers


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