Make way GPS, Google is developing an indoor positioning tech called VPS

Fernando Stephens
May 19, 2017

Now the program is moving from virtual to augmented reality.

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. At Google I/O 2017, Clay Bavor, Google's Vice President of Virtual Reality, outlined some of the new technologies and features that could help make augmented reality ... well a reality.

The Visual Positioning Service (VPS), a business or place can provide detailed information about where to go when you get somewhere.

The example showcased at I/O saw VPS seek out a screwdriver inside a Lowe's Home Improvement store.

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Bavor described the feature as "kind of like GPS" but instead of talking to satellites - which isn't necessarily viable given indoor reception issues - the cameras on a Tango device triangulate position based on "distinct visual features in the environment".

We'll see more about VPS when Google begins a broader rollout of the technology later in the year. 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. Importantly, Google's VPS technology will be a core part of its new Google Lens software, suggesting that the company expects to support this across a large number of devices in the future. The company said that more than 2 million students worldwide have experienced virtual reality in Expeditions with Google Cardboard.

One thing we've seen clearly is that AR is most powerful when it's tightly coupled to the real world, and the more precisely the better.

Google announced that the company is working with different partners, including HTC and Lenovo, to build a new type of VR headset that won't require a PC or a smartphone to use. In addition, he announced an AR mode for an upcoming educational tool called Google Expeditions.

Other reports by BadHub

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