News: Google Updates AR App to Help Muslims Observe Ramadan When Offline

Google Updates AR App to Help Muslims Observe Ramadan When Offline

Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, is underway, and Google has rolled out several tools to help Muslims commemorate the event, including an augmented reality app.

Last year, Google launched Qibla Finder, an augmented reality web app that points users in the direction of Mecca, the Islamic holy place which Muslims face daily for prayer.

Just in time for Ramadan, Google has updated the app to enable offline usage, as well as a home screen shortcut for Android users to access the app more easily.

Images via Google (1, 2)

Upon navigating to Qibla Finder and accepting camera and location permissions, users are directed to turn left or right with arrows over their camera view. An on-screen icon appears when the user's face is aligned with qibla (which means the direction of Mecca) and an animation confirms when their position is precisely facing in the right direction.

"More than 1.7 billion Muslims around the world will observe this time of fasting, gratitude, giving back and connecting with family and friends," wrote Yonca Dervisoglu, the VP of marketing for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Google, in a blog post. "We've put together a few special experiences across Google to help, from relevant information right in Search to a new way to share Ramadan greetings, made using virtual reality technology."

The Qibla Finder app is pretty simple and straightforward in comparison to the augmented reality navigation that Google is working on bringing to Google Maps.

Nevertheless, if augmented reality is going to "change everything," not all of the immersive experiences necessarily need to be all that involved — an app that simply gets the job done may push AR further than even the most complex apps.

Cover image via Google

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