Google brings an AR mode to its Motion Stills app on Android

Google’s Motion Stills video/gif editing app is getting an augmented reality upgrade, with the app bringing some of the fun from AR Stickers on the Pixel 2 to a bevy of Android devices.

In practice, the app delivers some pretty solid augmented reality surface tracking, pinning 3D models from Poly like chickens, robots or dinosaurs onto surfaces inside your environment. Users are able to record gifs and videos inside the app. Unlike other AR features requiring ARCore support, the Motion Stills app is available across a wide variety of Android phones running 5.1 and up.

“AR mode is powered by instant motion tracking, a six degree of freedom tracking system built upon the technology that powers Motion Text in Motion Stills iOS and the privacy blur on YouTube to accurately track static and moving objects,” Google engineers Jianing Wei and Tyler Mullen wrote in a blog post. “We refined and enhanced this technology to enable fun AR experiences that can run on any Android device with a gyroscope.”

Google dropped AR Stickers on the Pixel 2 in December, and in conjunction with the latest Star Wars film, released  Porgs and Stormtroopers into people’s homes as living advertisements.

This mode had been one of Google’s first features for Android to make good on their ARCore augmented reality developer platform. Like Apple’s ARKit, ARCore senses surfaces and allows you to drop objects onto them. It doesn’t have wall detection yet, which ARKit has just recently added, but given the fractured nature of the Android device landscape, product development is going to be a more arduous process.

Motion Stills relies on many of the same technologies, but with this latest update, Google is making moves to enable AR experiences that are good-enough so they can bring that technology to more people and devices.

Download Motion Stills for Android here.