Google's persistent Cloud Anchors make AR creations a little less temporary

ARCore (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google introduced persistent Cloud Anchors in preview last year.
  • It's rolling out now with ARCore 1.20 for developers.
  • Now, developers can build apps that leave 'persistent' augmented reality creations linked to geographical 'real world' locations.

Google will now let ARCore creations stick around longer, the company announced today. It's doing this with a new feature known as persistent Cloud Anchors, a feature it had in preview over the past year. This is now widely available in ARCore 1.20 to developers who build Android, ISO, and Unity mobile experiences.

So what are persistent Cloud Anchors? Simply put, it's a tool that lets developers create augmented reality creations and have them exist while being tagged to a "real world" location for a substantial amount of time. In other words, say Mary writes an AR app that displays giant eggs using persistent Cloud Anchors for egg enthusaists, Bob can now drop an egg on his desk and return anything to "see" the egg still there via the companion app. It'll "persist" there through the power of Cloud Anchors.

Now, Google highlights more practical options of course. Eric Lai, Product Manager, Augmented Reality, gives the example of a tv show:

REWILD Our Planet is an AR nature series produced by Melbourne based studio PHORIA. The experience is based on the Netflix original documentary series Our Planet. REWILD uses Ultra High Definition Video alongside AR content to let you venture into earth's unique habitats and interact with endangered wildlife. It originally launched in museums, but can now be enjoyed on your smartphone in your living room. As episodes of the show are released, persistent Cloud Anchors allow you to return to the same spot in your own home to see how nature is changing.

There are other ARCore experiences being built with persistent Cloud Anchors like MARK, a social network for leaving digital messages in the real world, or Lowe's Persistent View, an app for designing your home with AR.

More of these experiences should come to smartphones over the next year. If your phone supports ARCore, you should be able to use them without a hitch. In the future, Google hopes to build out earth Cloud Anchors, a tool that developers can use to guide users towards AR content.

Michael Allison