Trial & Error

Interactive Website of the Future: Chrome AR

Static sites are a thing of the past. Your visitors desire an interactive website and Google is taking it to the next level with Chrome AR. At the moment the feature is only available in the developer build of the browser, but we already have insight into how it can revolutionise our browsing experience - especially on mobile devices.

What’s even more exciting, quoting Google themselves, the entire Chrome AR experience is “just the web”. You don’t need a special browser, additional Chrome extensions or apps. Once the testing period ends, the only thing you’ll need will be a mobile device with a supported version of Android. Isn’t that amazing?

Before we showcase the possibilities of augmented reality in Chrome, let’s recap why interactive web design is so important.

The benefits of an interactive website

Engagement is the key here. Providing your visitors with self-service on your website encourages them to stay on your site longer. This way they learn more about your company and build a sense of trust for your business.

It’s almost guaranteed that an interactive website will increase your conversion rates. Why would someone go to the competition if your site seems like everything they ever wanted? Each of the interactive tasks your visitors complete, no matter how big or small they might be, will give them a sense of accomplishment.

Last but not least, let’s not forget word-of-mouth marketing. Who wouldn’t share an amazing, interactive website with their friends? If you make their experience memorable, your visitors will share it with the world.

All of the above will cause one more thing – your site will rank better on Google. More shares, more time spent on your site and more interactions will let Google know people like your site. User experience has never been more important for search engines.

What can you do with Chrome AR?

There’s no short answer to that question. The only limit is your imagination. Are you shopping for new furniture? Wouldn’t it be handy to pick a sofa you like, use your phone’s camera to place a life-sized model anywhere you want and see if it fits? This will be possible in every store that decides to utilise Chrome AR once it’s available for the public audience. You won’t need a separate app for each of the stores.

Of course, you’re not limited to placing virtual objects in real-life locations. You can add labels and interactions to both virtual and real objects. This short video from Google demonstrates the former. It showcases that everything is integrated into a website and makes for a seamless experience.

AR in your web browser gives endless possibilities to the developers. One of our favourite use cases for Chrome AR would be education. What’s a better way to learn new things than an interactive experience? Being able to immerse yourself into the topic of your studies is nothing short of amazing.

And while we’re at education, it’s only natural to go to the opposite end of the spectrum – entertainment. We can’t stress enough how excited we are to see what developers will prepare for us on the interactive websites that will take advantage of Chrome AR. We expect anything from fun little animations all the way to insane online AR games that, once again, won’t require any additional downloads.

As for real-life objects, AR will bring huge improvements to the quality of our life. Just see for yourself in this quick showcase of Google Maps in AR.

“It’s just the web”

Some points of interest already use AR apps to provide an immersive experience for the visitors, but once again, they are apps – software that you usually download to use once. Not only is it inconvenient, but also produces unnecessary e-waste – a subject we’ve touched on with our recent eco-friendly website infographic.

Google put it best – “it’s just the web”. The only requirement for Chrome AR is a phone with a supported version of Android and the Chrome browser you’re most likely already using. We’re excited to see how this feature will change the web. You can already see some of the developers’ ideas showcased on Experiments with Google.

Originally published Oct 31, 2018 3:02:43 PM, updated October 22 2020.

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