Google officially unveils project Tango, an initiative that seeks to utilize smartphones to build upon Google’s already dominating mapping empire.
Project Tango, a project that involves ‘specialists’ from the world over, will put the ability to create augmented reality data into the hands of consumers—if developed further and adopted by vendors and carriers. Essentially what Google has done is beefed up a smartphone’s camera by adding things like depth sensors and other 3D motion-sensing technologies to it. When the user decides he wants to scan a room, the phone’s onboard system will use the camera data to generate a 3D environment.
Project Tango leader, Johnny Lee, emphasized that the technology will go beyond just mapping. Developers will be able to create engaging video games that give users a hint of what augmented reality is. Lee even suggested that Tango can help developers to create a virtual assistant for the visually impaired.
Google recently dumped Motorola Mobility onto Lenovo, but that didn’t mean development in the smartphone and mobile space slowed down for the search giant. In mid-January, Google announced that it acquired Nest, the company responsible for developing a highly sophisticated thermostat, for $3.2 billion in cash. Although the Nest acquisition seemed a little out there, at the end of the day it will serve its purpose if Google can somehow turn the ‘smart-thermostat’ into a user-data generating machine. Like smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android platform, what Google want is user data so that it can create or help its partner to create products that will sell.
Currently, Project Tango is still in its early stages of development, and the company only has about 200 of these developer’s devices up for grab. The company intends to send out these development Tango devices sometime in March. Should this catch on and consumers begin to scan anything in sight, imagine how robust the Google indoor mapping system will become.