Facebook and Google Are Trying to Catch Up on AR

Stormtrooper looks so real

The first AR stickers centered around characters from the Star Wars and Stranger Things franchises, and they're pretty fun to play around with.

Eventually, the stickers will interact with each other, and I was surprised to find that Google lets you place any combination of figures from different packs in the same scene -- meaning Eleven can eat her Eggos in the company of a Stormtrooper, if you allow it.

At the bottom of the screen, you have the option to either take a picture or video of your AR masterpiece. The best thing about AR stickers is that even the older Pixel devices will be getting it in the Android 8.1 Oreo update. You can use Foodmoji and 3D Text stickers when you're feeling hungry; or shoot a celebratory video at your New Year's party with AR balloons and champagne.

So, what are these AR stickers? 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.

Augmented Reality vs Reality
Augmented Reality vs Reality

The Star Wars stickers look to be the most detailed from the promotional videos and images Google has released, while the Stranger Things ones are more cartoon-like in their appearance.

Presumably, these two themes are made to get more user in on AR Stickers, but that's not all in store. "AR Stickers", in case you missed it, is essentially a mode that lives inside the native camera app's hamburger menu along with others such as Portrait and Panorama.

According to a report published by The Verge, the feature is now only available for Pixel and Pixel 2 series of smartphones.

It will now ask you to rotate your Pixel smartphone to create a surface so that the stickers can be placed in a flawless place. If you're unable to see that, then you need to update your smartphone to the latest Android 8.1 Oreo. Users can move, resize and rotate the stickers as well. The Assistant also gets support for new languages, including Spanish and Italian. Another useful feature in Oreo 8.1 for Pixel users: Wi-Fi speed labels show you how fast nearby networks are. Google has to revamp the entire camera interface of the Google stock app. Google says this feature is powered by machine learning.




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