Google's educational Expeditions are expanding to augmented reality

Gwen Vasquez
May 19, 2017

Virtual reality might be generating the headlines in the PC and mobile spaces, but augmented reality is an equally, if not more, exciting prospect that's also gaining a foothold in the here and now.

Clay Bavor, Google's vice president of virtual reality, explained how VPS will work in an example that will resonate with anyone who's ever worked on a home improvement project. It's essentially a great tool to use at a store to direct you to where in the store you'll find the milk, or take you to where a specific exhibit is in a museum you're visiting.

With VPS, Google says, your phone will be able to quickly and accurate understand its location when its indoors the same way your device can already pinpoint your location on a map. "VPS will get you exactly to the item you're looking for". Of course, we'd imagine that companies or users would have to upload additional data in order to provide directions, or perhaps previous data from other VPS users could be shared in the cloud. This helps devices quickly and accurately understand their location indoors, kind of like Global Positioning System does outside, so users can be directed to what they're looking for.

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Google is going to be combining the visual directions with audio interfaces as an option for accessibility to help visually-impaired people navigate through the world. Google will have you covered with a new technology it announced today called "Visual Positioning Service" or VPS. The company said that more than 2 million students worldwide have experienced virtual reality in Expeditions with Google Cardboard.

Google Tango is a smartphone-based AR platform that has the ability to map the world around you in real-time using a number of on-board sensors and the phone's camera. Google will be bringing AR lessons to classrooms through its Pioneer Program, which will roll out later in the year. This technology builds on the idea of augmented reality tightly coupled with real world information.

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