I'm puzzled why so few brands seem to be using Google's new AR shell. It's a remarkable product that allows both Apple (.usdz) and Android (.glb) augmented reality models to be embedded into a website in a single line of code. My team uses it for clients as we speak. But we feel like a lone bastion. So I want to light the signal fire for AR AR.
I know why people have not heard about AR blaming: Google has not made its feature very public. My team only knew about this deep dive. Since we didn't see the product anywhere and forget what they called it, we just started calling it "wrapper." That's basically what it does, and no one else talks about it, so we stuck with it. It's actually called the Scene Viewer and was released in May.
The shell allows you to demonstrate any product on a website with a 3D model. The user clicks and it opens to QuickLook for Apple users and Model Viewer for Android users.
Basically web AR is here (not technically for those purists here, I know, but still) and it's great, but we haven't seen it used outside of our partners. Online retailing will never be the same ̵
So far, augmented reality has remained in the app. But my team refused to try to market branded AR applications. Make an AR application mean that you have to push downloads and keep it fresh enough to keep users engaged. People already have too many apps they don't use, so we thought it wasn't possible. In this way, we focused strictly on pushing content to social applications that had AR platforms – Snap, Facebook and now Instagram. These are obviously super powerful platforms, but they are not a worldwide network. Thousands of product websites can now be enhanced and implemented in the 3D world.
There used to be some web based AR products, such as an 8th wall, but they were really expensive, don't anchor well enough and sometimes require some permission requests that are truly non-starter . The AR shell carries the power of ARKit and ARCore on the web – very powerful AR technologies that work in a fairly seamless way.
The AR shell is also available with a native 3D viewer. This is huge, as we previously thought that users would need to recognize an unknown icon to know that the site thumbnail was AR enabled. Now the experience just spins in front of them, like a beautiful lure, screaming to be touched. There is also an AR icon, but the 3D icon gives users a much more intuitive pin that the object is in 3D / AR.
When we started to showcase the AR shell, we understood its power and were like crazy schoolgirls – as any company that makes AR should be. We were waiting for the opportunity to turn web pages into AR experiences. This ability is here, but there is a feeling that we are at the bottom of a canyon shouting our praises and hearing only our own echo in response.
Mike Kadu is the general manager at QReal.