Last week at Mobile World Congress 2019, Google provided its annual Android Partner Walk with its Augmented Reality ARCore toolkit.
For the novice, the Android Partner Walk is a scavenger hunt collection needles hidden in the MWC's exhibition halls. The game serves as a tool to encourage attendees to visit all of Google's Android partners, including Samsung, Qualcomm, LG, and Lenovo, as the pins are hidden near their stalls.
This year Google is taking place Giving physical pins away, Google asked participants to use ARCore-compatible devices to use the Android Partner Walk to find and scan QR codes throughout the event. Those who had collected all the virtual pins had the chance to win a prize at the Android Avenue Info Kiosk.
"The Android Partner Walk is always an entertaining affair for MWC attendees, but this year we decided to use a few ARs. You can collect virtual Android pins simply by opening the camera and following the directions "said Aparna Chennapragada, Google's vice president of Google Lens and AR, in a tweet .
When scanning the app, players were able to unlock animated AR scenes with unique Android characters and save the experience in their passbook. Participants could also take photos of the characters to share with other apps.
"It was fantastic to see the smiles and surprise of the MWC participants when they gathered their AR Android pins, which were people in business suits who were in between the meetings at the fairgrounds Joshua To, Design Director, and Steve Toh, designer of the Google AR / VR team, wrote in a blog post. "We developed the 21 fully animated 3D scenes with great care and were glad that people enjoyed them."
The app also acted as an AR navigator and showed the players the direction of the nearest pins (though a 2D guidebook also provides a traditional map for all users of the AR pins.)
"As we approach the AR companion of this experience The problem became clear: How do we point the person to the next partner status? This question is a question that AR can unambiguously solve, "wrote To and Toh.
" We learned some lessons from Google Maps, To help us design the Scavenger Hunt AR elements, we made each floor sticker unique Scanning would tell users where they are in the Android Partner Walk and enable us to show them off t to direct collected pens nearby.  Those who could not attend MWC can experience the AR collectibles themselves, as the app is still available for download on ARCore-compatible devices, with all collectibles being unlocked for display.
The app also serves as a showcase for ARCore, in particular for the Surface Detection features and the Newer Augmented Images feature, an image recognition protocol that allows 2D images to become 3D virtual experiences, as well as ARCore Elements, the new standardized Android visual language for AR user interfaces.
In addition, the app provides a case study in which AR is used to target different audiences work towards a similar goal. Here Google wants to show what its partners do with Android. Elsewhere, Niantic has shown communities how to leverage community-based games with location-based games like Pokémon GO.
The moral of the story is that it's not enough to have AR technology in an app. App developers must also give users a reason to use the apps.