Virtually dive into AR with Google's ARCore Coursera class

Virtual reality has had its time in the spotlight. Now it's augmented reality's time to shine. That is, if both developers and users are alike are actually able to get their hands on the technologies, both hardware and software, for AR. That is what Google's ARCore and Apple's ARKit are attempting to do on the device side. Now Google is trying to wean app developers into the AR world through a free Coursera class centered around, of course, ARCore.

Unlike VR, AR has the advantage of not requiring users to strap on headsets or goggles. While the experience of mobile AR will naturally be different (we only have two hands), it is also more practical. Unfortunately, most people associate AR and VR with games and entertainment, partly due to the lack of other kinds of experiences. That's where this course comes in.

While it isn't an in-depth course, the lessons serve to get developers' feet wet in the theory and practice of augmented reality. And they won't need any device other than one they may already have in their pocket. Granted, the list of ARCore-compatible phones is still small but, relative to AR headsets out there, it's substantial. In addition to a phone, the ARCore Course also makes use of tools like Google Poly and Unity 3D to make it even easier to craft such apps in no time flat.

ARCore has the potential to make augmented reality accessible to the masses, especially as it becomes available to more devices. You won't need specialized, not to mention expensive, hardware to use it nor will you need a specific computer (read: Mac) to develop for it. And with the proposed WebXR specification, there might even come a time when all you need is to go to a website for an AR experience. If only Google would, once and for all, stay put and not change strategies every two years or so.