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Google's Project Tango phone rocks four cameras

The 3D-mapping smartphone packs four cameras to map every surface around it, according to details spotted on a Chrome support site.

Project Tango packs serious lens action.

When Google decided to ship most of Motorola over to China and its new home with Lenovo, it held on to Moto's Advanced Technologies and Projects division, which has been working on some of the more crazy, and Google X-like, initiatives -- like a modular smartphone (Project Ara) and a 3D-mapping phone (Project Tango).

It seems as though the only phones Google is truly interested in making in-house are those that push the boundaries of what a smartphone is and is meant to do. Now we have some idea of what the Project Tango phone, which is kind of like taking Google's mapping and Street View initiatives down to an even more detailed level, will shape up to be.

On Friday, spotted some of the details of the Project Tango phone in the Chrome issue tracker, where developers are looking to add support for the specialized phone to Google's browser. The post reveals that the Tango phone utilizes a rather basic 4-megapixel rear shooter. But the real sausage gets made with the extra lenses you're not likely to find on any other Android smartphones, namely a 180-degree fisheye camera, a depth-of-field camera, and a front camera with a 120-degree field-of-view. The latter is described as mimicking the field of view of the human eye.

All this gets jammed into a 5-inch prototype smartphone that Google hopes to send out to a few hundred developers to play around with. The Project Tango phone allows for 3D-mapping of the environment around it, theoretically making it possible for Google to go beyond just providing a view from the streets of the world to rendering all surfaces in the world.

I'm not sure if the potential for such a project is more exciting or terrifying, given that the NSA has reportedly disguised itself as Google in the past for spying purposes. Yikes!

In case you missed it last month, here's a look at Project Tango.