For this year’s Ramadan, Google added a number of convenient holiday-specific features to their various services. The latest is a neat web app that leverages augmented reality to help users find what direction they should pray in.
During prayer, Muslims must face the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. After noticing that those searching for this direction — known as Qibla — often look for a compass, Google created this app:
It would be a lot easier to simply hold up your phone and have it tell you the right direction to pray towards. So we’re launching the Qibla Finder (g.co/QiblaFinder), a web app that uses the latest in augmented reality to paint a clear blue line within the imagery your phone camera sees, pointing you towards the Kaaba.
On mobile, it asks for permission to access your camera to create an augmented reality experience with useful overlays. An arrow guides users to the right direction at which point an overlay appears noting how many kilometers you are from the Grand Mosque.
There is a compass in the bottom right corner that provides general directions and expands when you point your phone downwards. From the navigation drawer, users can calibrate the compass to get more accurate results.
This live camera feed can be completely disabled with a toggle in the upper right, with the app continuing to work just fine.
On desktop, the app just displays a simplified Google Maps view with a blue line that points you in the right direction.