Millions of muslims around the world turn to Mecca every day for prayer. One of the top questions on Google, particularly during Ramadan is “What’s the direction of the Qibla?”, which is the direction Muslims turn to at prayer time. Users often look for a website or an app to point them in the right direction but the experience is suboptimal and inaccurate. To answer their question, we wanted to create an innovative and accessible way of showing users the way to Qibla. Therefore, we launched Qibla Finder, a web app that uses augmented reality and Google Maps technology to show you the direction to Qibla wherever you are in the world on your mobile device (g.co/QiblaFinder).
The Qibla Finder uses the latest in augmented reality to paint a clear blue line to Mecca within the imagery your phone camera sees and provide users with an integrated experience.
Describe the creative idea.
To help users find the direction to Qibla wherever they are, we launched the Qibla Finder on a web app which users can access directly on their mobile devices from Google Search. The users simply have to hold up their phone and the Qibla Finder would show them the direction to Mecca. The web app used augmented reality to paint a clear blue line to the Qibla within the imagery of users' phone camera. This allowed us to provide them with a simple and great experience that is fast and effective.
To verify that the web app displays the most accurate distance and direction to Qibla, we used Haversine formula which determines the great-circle distance between two points on a sphere given their longitudes and latitudes.
Furthermore, to make Qibla Finder accessible at all times, we enabled offline usage and added a shortcut on Android home screens.
Describe the strategy.
During the month of Ramadan more than 60 million people worldwide search to find the direction of Qibla. To help users find the right direction to pray towards and celebrate the millions of Muslims around the globe searching for the same destination, we built the Qibla Finder.
We collaborated with our engineering team to find the most accurate distance and direction to the Qibla using Haversine formula and created a simple blue line to Mecca. To provide users with an innovative experience of finding Qibla on Mobile, we integrated augmented reality within the web app. Qibla Finder is therefore able to paint a line through your camera phone imagery to point you in the right direction to Mecca.
Through the Qibla Finder, we demonstrated local relevance to millions of users active on this moment and connected Muslims with shared interests across the globe with Google products.
Describe the execution.
To be able to design the Qibla Finder as a web app on Mobile devices our product engineers worked to ensure the accuracy of the Qibla direction being shown to users.
We took the GPS and compass in a smartphone device, combined with the time of day and an accelerometer, and calibrated it against the curvature of the Earth using Haversine Formula. Using this Formula which gives the perfect great circle distance on a globe we curated a simple, clear blue line to Mecca that works wherever the user is.
Integrating augmented reality allowed us to provide users with a rich interface. We displayed an arrow on the screen which rotates around the screen pointing towards the Kaaba and disappears when the Kaaba is in view. Furthermore, a clear blue line is painted across the camera phone imagery pointing towards Mecca and showing the user the distance.
The Qibla Finder was built for anyone around the world to access through their mobile devices at any time during the day and wherever they are. Its simplicity and availability online and offline makes it accessible for all users
Qibla Finder was marketed to all muslims across the globe on digital platforms.
List the results
Over 4M users found the Qibla using the web app during Ramadan and 45% of them are becoming repeated visitors.