“The experience begins with the opening of an AR portal. Walk through it to explore an augmented cave where you can find and interact with hidden glyphs while still being able to see out into the real world…” No, not the introduction to the latest Pokémon Go-style game. It’s Google’s blog post about its latest collaboration with music artist Childish Gambino: an app called ‘Pharos AR’ which has been released for Android smartphones, with iPhones to follow.
It’s an inventive idea: a way to explore Gambino’s music and visual ‘worlds’ with other people. “After finding all the hidden glyphs, your journey continues to more worlds throughout Childish Gambino’s universe. You can go on the adventure alone, or share the experience with friends as you view and interact with visual elements simultaneously,” as Google put it.
This is as much a technical showcase for Google’s ARCore technology as it is for Gambino’s music. One of the key points about augmented reality (AR) technology now is that doing something *really* creatively-inventive is expensive, and thus likely best funded by a technology company keen to show off its capabilities. Still, good for Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover), who had already worked with Google on an AR version of himself within its Pixel smartphones’ camera app earlier this year.