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Google and Singapore Tourism Board partner to bring location-based AR experiences to Google Maps

By Aaron Yip - on 16 May 2024, 1:00am

Google and Singapore Tourism Board partner to bring location-based AR experiences to Google Maps

Image source: Google

At Google I/O 2024, Google and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced a collaboration to introduce location-based augmented reality (AR) experiences directly into Google Maps, making the island nation one of only two cities in the world selected for this pilot.

This partnership builds on the success of Merli’s Immersive Adventure, an AR tour launched in January through STB’s Visit Singapore Travel Guide app. The tour, powered by Google’s ARCore and Geospatial Creator, featured Singapore’s tourism mascot, Merli, guiding visitors to six iconic locations, including the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, the Fullerton Hotel, and Maxwell Food Centre.

The next phase of this collaboration takes these experiences a step further by integrating them into the Google Maps mobile app. The aim is to make AR content more accessible, allowing users to discover and enjoy immersive tours without needing a separate application.

STB has also onboarded over a dozen local tourism stakeholders to join the pilot. These stakeholders, including retail malls along Orchard Road, heritage businesses in Chinatown, and various museums and attractions, will develop their own location-based AR experiences. By the end of the summer, STB says more than 30 places of interest across Singapore will offer AR experiences.

AR experience of Maxwell Food Centre. (Image source: Google)

Key locations set to feature these new AR experiences include multicultural neighbourhoods and renowned landmarks such as the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. Whether it's watching a ceremonial dragon dance in Chinatown or previewing local dishes at Maxwell Food Centre, visitors will be able to engage with Singapore’s culture in a new way on their mobile devices.

Users can also access AR content remotely via Street View on the Google Maps mobile app. This allows those planning their trips from afar to preview Singapore’s landmarks and attractions through an augmented lens. For those on the ground, using the Lens feature in Google Maps will overlay AR content onto their physical surroundings, and could be helpful for visitors planning their trips to Singapore.

STB plans to further grow the number of location-based AR experiences in Google Maps beyond 25, to achieve its vision of making Singapore the world’s first “AR City” in Google Maps.

The full experience will be available on Google Maps later this summer.

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