At Google I/O 2019, the tech giant has rolled out a new feature for Google mobile search that can put virtual animals in the real world, so long as you have an AR-enabled phone, that you can place into your surroundings, whether that’s your backyard, on the couch next to your brother watching TV, or in the middle of the kitchen.
According to 9to5Google, it works for lions, tigers, bears, alpine goats, timberwolves, European hedgehogs, angler fish, emperor penguins, and giant pandas. We can confirm that it also works with dogs and cats. When you do a search on any of them, you’ll see a card that says “Meet a life-sized [animal] up close.”
On Friday a series of tweets from the Google showed what it’s like to search for a panda, Rottweiler, and tiger and have an immersive experience.
What’s black and white and AR all over?
A giant panda in Search. pic.twitter.com/P4M2ki7uMe
— Google (@Google) May 31, 2019
To activate the feature, you’ll need to perform a search for an animal on an AR-supported Android device.When the search results pop up, there will be a section on the animal’s Knowledge Panel that says something like “Meet a life-size tiger up close.” Below that is a button to ‘View in 3D’ and an animated animal — a tiger in this case.
Clicking the button shows you the animal in a blank, white space. You can manipulate it, spin it and zoom in and out. The card also has a “View in your space” button that places an animated version of that animal in the environment you’re in. You can move them around and resize them — they even come with appropriate visual and sound effects. The tiger roars, the dog barks and scratches its ears, the panda chews on a piece of bamboo and the cat licks its paws and cleans itself.
Tapping that will prompt Google to ask for your camera. Once granted, you’ll have to move your phone around so Google can orient the space, and then it puts the animal right there in front of you.
You’ll have to give the feature access to your camera and your storage to be able to see the AR animals the first time you view one. After that, you can play with it anytime you want. This is just one of the augmented reality features for Search Google revealed at its I/O developer conference in early May. 9to5Google says the tech giant also teamed up with NASA, Samsung, Volvo and other companies to create more AR objects for Search in the future.