Google would like to use your phone’s camera more often—not just for whatever it’s calling its group-chat software this month, but also for augmented-reality overlays of search results on your view of the world.
The search giant has plenty of company in asking you to partake in AR. Apple is making the same request on behalf of iPhone and iPad developers, and Verizon just put in its own bid with a set of AR museum exhibits you can virtually position in your own house.
As seen on the screen of a phone or tablet showing, for example, an animation of a carbon atom’s electrons, neutrons and protons floating above your cat, AR can look legitimately neat.
But augmented reality can look like yet another oversold tech promise when you remember that industry visionaries have spent much of the last decade promising life-changing wearable augmented-reality glasses that would let you bring up AR overlays at any time.