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Stranger Things print ad uses AR technology

It is one of the most successful Netflix original series to date, with a huge 40.7 million household accounts tuning into the newest series of Stranger Things in the four days following its launch – more than any other film or series, according to Netflix.

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Strange adverts appear in the New York Times. Photo: Google

Now, Stranger Things has teamed up with Google Lens to merge the past with the present. Published in yesterday’s New York Times print edition, the adverts for the fictional Starcourt Mall, featured in this season of Stranger Things, are brought to life when viewed through Google Lens.

Set in 1980s Indiana, the series is described as a science-fiction horror and revolves around a group of young friends who uncover secret government activities and supernatural goings-on.

Announcing the collaboration between the New York Times and Stranger Things in a blog post, Google says: “Demogorgons. Mindflayers. Shadowy government agencies. Things aren’t always what they seem in Hawkins, Indiana, and Season 3 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” is no different.

… for those adventurous enough to look beneath the surface, they’re bound to find a lot more than they bargained for

“It’s 1985, and the newly-opened Starcourt Mall is centre stage. But for those adventurous enough to look beneath the surface, they’re bound to find a lot more than they bargained for.”

Google Lens was first introduced in 2017 as a way for smartphone users to identity objects using just their camera. The image recognition technology is now being used for augmented reality (AR) applications.

The Stranger Things project is the latest in a line of projects Google Lens has collaborated on to overlay digital information on real-life places and objects to enrich experiences.

Earlier in June, Google Arts & Culture used the Lens technology to partner with the de Young museum in San Francisco, where visitors could engage with artworks to discover the stories behind the paintings.

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