Google ARCore is the best tourist guide you can imagine

Emre Çitak
May 11, 2023
Updated • May 11, 2023

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Google's ARCore and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) have joined forces to introduce a series of AI-powered guided tours. As the first tourism partner in Google's ARCore Early Access Program on a global scale, the STB is setting the stage for an innovative fusion of augmented reality (AR) and travel experiences. The integration of AR technology aims to enhance visitors' exploration of Singapore's iconic landmarks and hidden gems, offering a unique and immersive journey unlike any other.

The travel and tourism industry has witnessed a rising trend in the adoption of virtual and augmented reality tools, designed not to replace physical travel but to augment it with interactive and accessible elements.

Now, Google's ARCore and the STB are taking this trend to new heights by leveraging improved versions of AR and virtual reality (VR) technology, providing a glimpse into a future of hybrid travel experiences that seamlessly blend the physical and digital realms.

Google AICore Singapore
Google AICore has partnered with Singapore Tourism Board to create AI-powered guided tours - Image: Google

Unveiling immersive AR experiences in the Visit Singapore app

Recently showcased at the prestigious Google I/O 2023 conference, the collaboration between Google ARCore and the STB has resulted in the preview of two immersive AR experiences within the Visit Singapore app. These captivating experiences are centered around Merlion Park and the esteemed Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall.

Powered by Google's ARCore Geospatial API, visitors can now embark on a guided tour that seamlessly integrates the virtual and real worlds, promising an unforgettable adventure through the heart of Singapore.

The Visit Singapore app currently offers a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come, featuring two AR encounters at Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall and Merlion Park. However, the full launch, expected by the end of the year, will encompass a broader range of places of interest, enriching the app with a multitude of AR experiences.

Miguel de Andrés-Clavera, Group Product Manager at Google Partner Innovations (PI), expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, highlighting the potential of AR technology to augment physical environments and surprise travelers and local explorers with informative and immersive experiences in Singapore.

Download the Visit Singapore app using the links below.

Visit Singapore app for Android

Visit Singapore app for Apple

Leveraging the power of ARCore and geospatial technology

The introduction of the ARCore Geospatial API by Google in 2022 has empowered developers to create world-anchored experiences, leveraging the Visual Positioning System (VPS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) for precise localization. By combining these technologies, developers can seamlessly integrate virtual content into real-world environments, complete with realistic lighting and physics. The result is an enhanced AR experience that allows users to point their devices' cameras, instantly recognizing their location, and orientation, and precisely placing AR content.

The STB's Chief Technology Officer, Wong Ming Fai, emphasized the potential of Extended Reality (XR) applications, including AR, in enhancing visitor experiences. The ARCore Geospatial API, in conjunction with VPS and GPS, enables the deployment of high-quality 3D AR content anchored precisely to Singapore's specific buildings. This breakthrough technology opens up new opportunities to deliver visually captivating and entertaining tour experiences, allowing visitors to engage with well-known places of interest in fresh and innovative ways.

Google AICore Singapore
Google AICore Sis is by no means new but creating guided tours is a groundbreaking technology - Image: Google

What are the ARCore supported devices?

ARCore, Google's platform for augmented reality experiences, is compatible with a wide range of devices. It supports both Android smartphones and tablets running Android 7.0 or later.

However, the availability of ARCore may vary depending on the device manufacturer and specific models. Generally, popular flagship devices from major manufacturers tend to be ARCore compatible.

Some examples of ARCore-supported devices include:

Google Pixel series: Devices such as Google Pixel 7, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a, and earlier models are ARCore compatible.

Samsung Galaxy series: Samsung's high-end, mid-range, and budget devices often come with ARCore compatibility.

OnePlus: OnePlus devices, including OnePlus 9, OnePlus 8, and OnePlus 7 series, are typically ARCore compatible.

LG: LG smartphones often support ARCore.

Sony Xperia: Sony Xperia devices like Xperia 1 III, Xperia 5 III, and earlier models are typically ARCore compatible.

Motorola: Motorola devices, including the Moto G series and Moto One series, often offer ARCore support.

ASUS: ASUS smartphones, such as ASUS ROG Phone 5, ROG Phone 3, and ZenFone 7, are known to be ARCore compatible.

It's worth noting that the list above is not exhaustive, and ARCore support extends to many other Android devices beyond those mentioned.


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