With “Campfire” a new social network is launched. The special feature: It was developed by Niantic, the company behind the AR app “Pokémon Go”. Niantic boss John Hanke sees the technology as an alternative to the virtual “Metaverse” world of Facebook.
Launched in 2016, “Pokémon Go”, in which players chase small animated monsters with their smartphones, fueled the boom in apps that integrate digital content into real environments on the screen. This is referred to as “augmented reality” (AR).
Alternative to the “Metaverse” world
Niantic CEO John Hanke sees the technology as an alternative to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s concept of a virtual “Metaverse” world. “We want to use technology to add some magic to the world,” Hanke said. “We don’t want to get in the way of that, the world is a pretty cool place.” Hanke is hoping for AR glasses that display digital content directly in the user’s field of vision.
Niantic is expanding its in-house AR technology with the ability to determine the position of a user in a location down to the centimeter. This is made possible by scans of the surroundings and 3D models, so that the camera can recognize where the smartphone is at the moment. With the technology, superimposed digital objects are to be adapted more precisely to the environment and interact with it.
Virtual objects can also be displayed in exactly the same place in apps for multiple users. The feature is initially available in locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, London and Tokyo and is expected to expand to more than 100 cities worldwide by the end of the year.