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Google Chrome 81 will bring new AR and NFC features to the web

Published Feb 17th, 2020 7:41PM EST
Google Chrome 81
Image: Shutterstock

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Google late last week released a beta version of Chrome 81 for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Google’s latest Chrome update isn’t necessarily a must-have just yet, but the update does include a few new APIs which will ultimately provide developers with avenues to bring users a host of new and interesting features.

First and foremost, Chrome 81 adds new support for augmented reality on the web, building upon functionality Google has been slowly but steadily adding to Chrome over the past few months.

First and foremost, Google Chrome 81 includes a new Hit Test API that makes it easier to place objects in real-world environments.

Android Police reports:

The Hit Test API makes it easy for web apps to place virtual objects in real-world points using a device’s camera, which then stay in place as you move the camera around. Chrome on Android uses Google Play Services for AR (formerly ARCore) to power WebXR, so this works just as well as any augmented reality Android application.

Chrome 81 also introduces a Web NFC framework that will enable web apps to interact with NFC tags. As Google’s Chromium blog notes: “This opens new use cases to the web, including providing information about museum exhibits, inventory management, providing information in a conference badge, and many others.”

There’s no firm date surrounding the release of Chrome 81 — which will also include a number of new security features — but we’ve seen rumblings which suggest Google will release a polished version sometime next month, most likely in the mid-March timeframe.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.