While Google Maps might be one of the more widely used mapping applications around and it looks like it is about to get better, thanks to a new Google effort called Project Tango that was recently announced by Sundar Pichai. What is Project Tango, you ask? Well it is a prototype phone built by Google that has the ability to learn its surroundings, like the dimension of a room and the spaces just by being in the room itself and as it is being moved around. For example with the user carrying the device and walking around their house, the device will be able to learn the shape of the home which will help create a more robust and precise map, which in turn will help Google Maps become more precise in the future.
In a way it does seem a little creepy to think that Google might soon know how our homes are laid out, but privacy concerns set aside, it does sound like a pretty good idea. According to Lee, “The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.” This is accomplished thanks to the device featuring a motion tracking camera and a depth sensor that is built into the back, which will help detect the device’s orientation, what’s in front of them, and use that information to help build a 3D map. The project is headed by Johnny Lee who is part of the Advanced Technology and Projects group from Motorola that Google held onto when they sold the company to Lenovo.
As it stands the technology is still in its early stages, but at the same time Google is interested in seeing what developers can use the device for, much like what they did with early units of Google Glass. Google states that they have about 200 devices ready and are looking to pass them out to interested developers by March 14th. For developers who are interested in Project Tango, head on over to its website and register your interest. In the meantime you can check out the video above to get a better idea of what to expect.