Earlier this year in September, Google debuted its Augmented Reality (AR) platform – AR Core – for Android smartphones. An answer to Apple’s AR Kit, the platform does away with the need for having a triple camera sensor for AR to work. Instead, it uses the smartphone’s rear camera to add augmented characters in the real world. Now, Google has released its first AR Core app – AR Stickers – with a number of 3D characters from popular TV show Stranger Things, and the Star Wars movie.
At the moment, Google AR Stickers app is compatible with first-gen Pixel and Pixel XL, and second gen Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. If you have any of these Pixel smartphones, ensure that you have the software updated to Android 8.1 Oreo. Next, head over to Google Play Store and update the AR Core framework and Google VR Services app, and then download AR Stickers app. We tried the app on our Pixel XL smartphone and here’s what all you can do with it.
The AR Stickers are accessible from the Google Camera app – simply tap on the hamburger menu on the top left, followed by AR Stickers. On the top (or left – depending on the screen orientation), you will be able to see the available stickers. Star Wars pack has the Stormtrooper, R2-D2 robot, BB-8 Sphero, and progs. In case of Stranger Things, you have characters such as Eleven, Dustin, Lucas and other Kids, along with Demogorgon. There is also the Stranger Things animation with the theme music.
Apart from movie and TV show characters, you also have other animation characters such as a coffee mug, donut, pizza slice, ice cream, cake, wine bottle, and animations with which you can write your name in the virtual world.
How to add objects and characters using AR Stickers
Adding characters in the augmented world is very simple. Start the camera app, tap on the hamburger menu, followed by AR Stickers. Now, move your phone in a circular direction as demonstrated on the screen, as it will allow the phone to scan and map the area around. Next, simply drag and drop the character you want.
Once added, you can pinch to zoom-in and zoom-out, or use two fingers to raise or lower the character. If you want to remove and clear the space, there is a delete button on the top that lets you clear one or all characters.
There is no restriction on how many stickers you can use at once. At a point, I had three Stormtroopers surrounding the BB-8 and the R2-D2. I even added a Stormtrooper and two Stranger Things characters. At any point, you want to move the characters around, simply tap on them (a circle will appear at the bottom) and then drag around to reposition them.
What’s more, when stickers are being used, you can even use the camera to click photos or record a video with those characters around you. Once the photo or video is recorded, you can then share it with your friends or across social networks.
Now, while the implementation is good and it works well on Pixel smartphones, I couldn’t help but notice a few issues. For once, I placed the BB-8 Sphero on a table and after trying to move it around the edge, it should have ideally fallen on the ground. Instead, it kept on rolling in the air, in the virtual space. It is one area that needs improvement, probably something that we could see in the coming versions.
Do you have a Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone? Do give Google AR Stickers a try and let us know about your experience.