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Google just announced its plan to match the coolest new feature coming to the iPhone

  • Google just announced its answer to Apple's augmented reality platform
  • New tools called ARCore will let developers enable AR on millions of Android devices
Handout: Google AR
Google

Google just announced a tool that will allow developers to write augmented reality apps for millions of Android devices.

Augmented reality allows developers to overlay digital content on top of the real world. The lion in the image above, provided by Google, appearing to stand right on the street, is a good example of one fun use-case.

This is a big deal.

The developer tool is called ARCore and is a direct answer to Apple's ARKit, which allows iOS developers to make AR apps for iPhones and iPads.

Until now, it seemed as though Google didn't have an answer to Apple. Google had been investing in its Tango augmented reality platform, but that required special hardware and sensors on new smartphones. It wasn't really going anywhere.

Now, without having to rely on new hardware, Google can get augmented reality apps out to existing Android phones.

Google says it hopes that AR apps will be up and running on 100 million devices before the developer tools are even out of preview. Phones that will support augmented reality include the Galaxy S8 and the Pixel.