Not many people have heard of Project Tango, but almost everyone has heard of Google Maps. Maps is often a travellers' best friend when navigating the outside world; and it does a pretty good job at that. The blue dot that tells you your location is helpful by telling you which way you're heading in and when you move, it moves too. The biggest "flaw" with Maps is that once you walk into a building, it can't tell you where in the building you are, just that you're inside and maybe on this one end. Project Tango was created to make it so your world can be shown on Google Maps: indoor and out.
Google wants to help make it so you aren't on your own once you get into a building. With a Tango-enabled device, you'd be able to peer inside buildings. The technology lets you map out a room, with the phone's sensors and four cameras capturing all of the parameters and measurements of the room itself and everything inside it. With this ability, you can now do almost anything through virtual reality.
Tango's website highlights these points in its abilities:
Measure your surroundings with 3D tools, then re-imagine them with virtual furniture, appliances and more.
Bring virtual objects into your world—from toys to planets to pets—and play with them like they're actually there.
Navigate stores, museums and other indoor locations, with directions overlaid onto your surroundings.
Though not all of these features have been officially released yet, they've been testing them for a while now. For example, the navigation feature that is mentioned is not currently available yet, but will be later on this year. They have tested it at the National Art Museum of Catalunya and plan to bring select locations online later this year.
“With the capabilities brought to the table by Project Tango, we're expecting a completely new era of AR and VR that actively infuses digitally created models with actual physical realities.” - Android Authority, January 7, 2016
Of course, this is not just the work of Tango. There are already lots of great apps exploring these new capabilities, Lenovo is demonstrating the technology with a variety of apps, including virtual reality-style shooting games; an educational app, made in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History; and a domino app that lets you set up Rube Goldberg-like contraptions with virtual pieces. Google's PlayStore has a number of Tango featured apps already, you can check out the list here.