Virtual reality became more “real” the past couple of years as OEMs and developers continue to release VR headsets, services, videos, apps, and games. Last year, we saw augmented reality became a hit with the Pokemon GO phenomenon. We know AR will be more popular this year as the Tango devices have started to enter the market. We know a few AR-focused phones already like the ASUS Zenfone AR and the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
Even manufacturers of smartglasses and VR headsets are considering the idea of augmented reality because it’s easy to add a related technology. Sure, VR is already fun and exciting (and dizzying!) but AR brings a more realistic approach.
Top Chinese web service Baidu wants to join the bandwagon and take advantage of the technology by launching its own augmented reality service. It has already opened an augmented reality lab and has started to integrate AR into search. The goal obviously of the lab is to research, develop, and build more AR experiences.
This AR lab will be part of the Baidu Research division. Similar efforts include the Institute of Deep Learning, Silicon Valley Lab, and the Big Data Lab. With an investment of $200 million, Baidu is set to focus on augmented reality and artificial intelligence. One of the company’s first ventures was the ‘DuSee’ AR platform that allows people to check AR animations while inside an app.
Some commercial brands that tried going to the AR world include L’Oreal China, Mercedes-Benz, and Lancôme. The company has also added some AR features inside its Baidu mobile app and others like Baidu Maps or Baidu Nuomi. For one, in the Mobile Baidu app, AR effects are shown on the screen when you type a search query.