Microsoft has quietly launched its brand new ‘Outings’ Mixed Reality app in Microsoft Store which will be available on both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. The new Outings app somewhat represents a fresh take on the Microsoft Garage mobile app that is also known by the same name. The app has been released together with a new software development kit (SDK).
From a quick look, you won’t miss the parallels with the Google Earth VR. The Outings app is capable of visualizing some locations as 3D assets and allows the user to explore various landmarks from the comfort of their couch. You can use the app to soar across an Earth-like globe that is shown as a 3D tabletop.
The app is also equipped with comprehensive information on the various landmarks and areas in the chosen cities included in the app. So far it covers cities such as Seattle, New York, Boston and Vancouver. It is not yet clear whether the Outings app will have a content library that will be as expansive as that of Google Earth.
The Outings app aims to illustrate what you can do with the new Maps SDK which enables you to parse Maps data into Unity apps so as to provide visualization for various local landmarks. The app is most likely utilizing data from the Bing Maps which is also powered by the HERE mapping consortium.
Using Outings, users can easily search for quality travel stories about exciting destinations from travel blogs and other sources including stories on city life, outdoor adventures, historical landmarks, hidden gems or beautiful vistas. It is a great app for discovering the perfect haunts in the supported cities.
The Outings app can easily lend itself to uses such as building a weather app that has 3D visualization on the HoloLens. You can also use it for the traditional map functions; for example, you can put on a headset and use it to explore any of the included cities such as New York, Boston or Seattle.
The drawback is that the Outings app is only available on the Microsoft Store so you won’t be able to access it on other non-supported headsets such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Given that other older Microsoft apps such as Halo: Recruit are yet to be added on SteamVR, it may be quite some time before the Outings app is available in other devices beyond the HoloLens and the Windows Mixed Reality headsets. However, if you have any of the Microsoft headsets, you can simply access the app for free.