The latest duelling ground between Apple and Google is in the realms of Augmented Reality. Apple with its ARKit is ahead of Google’s ARCore at the moment (did both companies have a secret meeting and decide to forego the space after ‘AR’?) evidenced by their demonstrations during this year and last year’s Apple World Wide Developer Conference.
The ‘Hello World’ of AR apps (I do believe in spaces, thanks to my English grammar teacher) seems to be a measuring app. Apple demoed an ARKit based measuring app last year, and this year they are confident enough to actually release the app as a standard iOS app.
But what about the rest of us on Android? Are we supposed to use a tape measure like cavemen? Fret not – for Google has caught up and released a measuring app called “Measure – quick, everyday measurements” – because apparently ‘Google Measure’ would have been too easy.
The app worked better than I had hoped mainly because I had very low expectations to begin with. Previous ARCore apps had never impressed me. The interface is simple but not exactly intuitive – it took me a few tries to figure how to get it to work. But boy! Was I impressed! Check out the video below to see how it fared.
As you can see in the video, the app was able to precisely measure the length of my desk. I tried it with a few different surfaces, with inconsistent results. When it did work – it was simple, and reasonably precise (there is a margin of error of +- 1 unit). While ‘reasonably precise’ wouldn’t be acceptable in say, a calculator app, I am willing to cut some slack here since these are new fangled technologies. Suffice to say, we are far from replacing our trusty measuring tapes yet.
The app’s reliability is also very inconsistent. Most of the times it struggles to understand the ‘surface’, especially if it isn’t a flat, non-glossy one. Try measuring the height of a chair that is on a shiny marble floor – and you will understand what I mean.
And finally – if you do want to try it out on your phone you might want to check this link – because Google is still not done rolling out this technology to the thousands of types of phones that are out there. So as of now only a minuscule number support ARCore (which includes iPhones), if you are lucky enough to own a phone which is listed here, the app is available from the link below. Do let us know if you enjoyed being a part of the brave new world where everyone has a measuring tape in their hands all the time.