Google announced a rebranding of its augmented reality stickers feature today, with the name changing officially to Playground as part of the Pixel 3 hardware event that just wrapped in New York City. Playground will now exist as a special mode within the Pixel camera, and it will algorithmically suggest new AR animations to fit the scene you’re in, regardless of whether you’re using the front- or rear-facing lenses. In addition to the rebranding, Google is launching four new packs of these AR animations and fittingly calling them “Playmoji.”
Initially announced last fall as AR Stickers, these virtual animations were similar to the lenses and filters that Snapchat popularized a few years back. But a key difference is that these are entirely in 3D and are deployed with a much smarter sense of spatial and object recognition, thanks to Google’s advances in artificial intelligence. Google launched Strangers Things stickers, as well as a pack for Star Wars during The Last Jedi theatrical run late last year.
In the new Playmoji packs, Google lets you pick from a selection of cartoony pets, visual and interactive signs, comic strip-style sports animations, and anthropomorphic weather effects:
These new packs should all be available in the Play Store and through the Playground camera mode. In addition to these standard packs, Google is also adding Marvel-themed AR stickers in celebration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 10-year anniversary and, later this year, a Donald Glover-themed set featuring the dance moves of his musical alter ego Childish Gambino.
Here’s a rather impressive Iron Man-themed animation in action: