Alongside other camera announcements at Made by Google 2018, the company also revamped AR Stickers introduced the year before. On the Pixel 3, Playground is the new name for fun augmented animations on photos and videos. It is now rolling out to older devices like the original Made by Google device and Pixel 2.
Playground features a new camera interface compared to AR Stickers. Still launched from the Google Camera app, the UI is rather reminiscent of Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Instead of stickers located at the top of the screen where it is harder to reach on large devices, expressive media is now located at the bottom.
Flanking the shutter is a sticker button that slides up a panel with tabs for all the new available content. Packs feature cover images that detail what stickers are available, with the option to preview before installing. Meanwhile, users can now overlay floating text on an image, as well as add animated stickers from Gboard. Lastly, there is a selfie mode to insert content into the front-facing camera.
AI works to recommend the right expressive content for the moment. The real-time suggestions based on machine learning and computer vision take into consideration where you are and what’s currently in the scene.
Existing Playmoji characters like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Stranger Things are joined by a new Marvel Studios Avengers pack. Other new packs include Weather, Pets, Sports and Signs, as well as an exclusive one from Childish Gambino coming later.
Launched on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, Playground 2.1 is now widely rolling out via the Play Store to the original Pixel and the Pixel 2, as Google promised earlier this year. On first lauch after updating, users will be guided through a walkthrough of the new interface and features.