Google’s Project Tango, and what it means for Estate Agent Professionals

Posted: by April 13th, 2016

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A new wave of sensors in mobile phone hardware are set to potentially change how we use our phones. Google’s ‘Project Tango‘ is more than just a fancy codeword. Instead, it is a fundamental change to how our phones perceive space, and it could be a huge deal for virtual tour experiences, and how homes of the future are marketed online.

At the start of this year, Google announced new developments in mobile phone hardware, that makes a phone not only location aware, but now also spatially aware. Dubbed ‘Project Tango’ Google showcased a phone that could map its entire 3D environment in real time.

From the Google Team directly: “Our current prototype is a 5” phone containing customized hardware and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment. These sensors allow the phone to make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real-time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you.”

With Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Street View all focused on external spaces, the adoption and roll out of phones which can map physical space without the complicated hardware that goes hand in hand with those products, it’s not too much a stretch of the imagination to think that Google will be concentrating very heavily on internal spaces with Project Tango.

Apple’s acquisition of PrimeSense (the makers of the 1st generation Xbox Kinect) hints that they are also working on this technology, with the end goal of integrating it into their phone as well. But phone hardware is really nothing without decent software, and the first glimpse of potential interested software vendors hints at the Estate Agent sector as being a prime candidate to take advantage of it.

3d Visualisation company Matterport (www.matterport.com) provide immersive 3D virtual tours (that are available now on PropertyPal) using their bespoke camera solution. Google’s Project Tango would ultimately put the power of one of those cameras into a device at least ten times as small, and facilitate smaller software vendors to compete with the quality of the walkthroughs that Matterport currently provide. Matterport already have a mobile app in the works for this technology and are partnering with Google on the development of the technology.

For the creation of floor plans as well, Google have already shown interest in some of the leading mobile software vendors out there that could work alongside Tango phones. Sensopia, which creates MagicPlan (an iPhone app for creating floor plans) have also realised its potential, and are integrating Tango into the app, which makes measuring floor dimensions extremely easy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If Google manages to get the project into the hands of the everyday Estate Agent, we will definitely see indoor ‘Street View’ experiences being integrated into the homes we view online.

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