Qibla is a very common Islamic term that means the fixed direction towards the Ka’bah in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It’s the direction which all Muslims face when performing their prayers, wherever they are in the world.
Google comes into play using their latest technology in helping Muslims to locate Qibla direction from anywhere in the world. Qibla Finder is a new augmented reality app that will make the lives of Muslims community a bit easier around the globe. The app has become a Ramadan gift for Muslims from the tech giant.
Qibla Finder can work in any web browser, moreover the services can be enjoyed on compass-enabled Android and iOS mobile devices.
How Qibla Finder Works
Google describes the basic principle working behind Qibla Finder on their webpage, “We use the location of Kaaba (Lat 21.4224779 Long 39.8251832) and your current location (provided by GPS or manually) to determine the most direct route between two points on the globe, also known as the great-circle distance. The distance is then calculated using the haversine formula. The line drawn from your location to the Qibla can appear to be bent if seen on a flat map.”
Android and iOS
Unfortunately Qibla Finder does not work with all smartphones as it requires a compass to calculate the most accurate Qibla direction from your position. It is advised to calibrate your compass if you do have one in your smartphone.
For Android smartphones, the app requires access to the device camera and location. Once you grant the required permissions, the app turns on the camera and draws a line in the direction of the Qibla. You can then follow the line with your smartphone’s camera to find the Qibla.
As mentioned earlier, the app will ask for permissions to use your device’s location and camera (location only for iOS). iPhone users however, won’t be able to take advantage of the camera-only feature.
Qibla Finder Web App
Google has also tailored the Qibla Finder Web App to be used on your PC or laptop to locate Qibla, though it won’t make use of the augmented reality features in this case.