Google just announced a pretty impressive-looking retail experience powered by its Project Tango 3D mapping service. With help from aisle411 and Walgreens, the new augmented reality shopping technology will help you find products more efficiently. It sort of turns shopping into a video game.
Google and aisle411 unveiled the new technology at the I/O developer conference, a hint that there's more to come for Project Tango. For now, the new augmented reality shopping experience will enable shoppers to use Project Tango not only to find what you're looking for but also to discover deals which will apparently "pop out" from the shelf, thanks to integration with inventory-searchable indoor maps of the store. Consumers can even earn points simply by walking down aisles, hence the video game analogy. The program will be piloted in retailers across the country in coming months.
If you're not familiar with it, Project Tango is a futuristic mobile initiative that grew out of an old division of Motorola now known as Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. It equips smartphones and tablets with 3D mapping capabilities thanks to cameras and infrared depth sensors on the devices that can take a quarter million readings per second. This enables all kinds of fun, from the capability to 3D-map an entire room using just a smartphone to a whole new sort of interface for mobile devices.
Google also announced that pmd, a German 3D technology supplier, would be a partner in building better sensors for Project Tango. Combined with this new shopping application, that means that this is only the beginning of new kinds of augmented reality experiences powered by Project Tango.