What do mobile search and Augmented Reality (AR) have in common? Probably none, until Google steps in.
As the search engine giant of the web, Google is always experimenting on things, just to improve user experience and showcase its prowess.
This time, Google mobile search for different animals on smartphones can bring up the option to view them as AR images.
To do this, users just need to do a quick search using Chrome or the Google app with queries like lions, tigers, bears, alpine goats, timberwolves, European hedgehogs, angler fish, emperor penguins, and giant pandas.
Here, Google can bring up an option on the Knowledge Panel, where users can view them in 3D and AR.
AR in Search is part of Google’s belief that the “easiest way to wrap your head around new information is to see it.” By being able to place 3D objects directly in front of the users eyes, they can get a “sense of scale and detail.”
For example, users may already know that some Great White Sharks can grow to 18 feet in length. But users may wonder how big is that when compared to, let's say, a dining table. Using AR, Google is putting that beast of the sea up close in relation to things around its users.
Initially available to some devices in some locations, Google can materialize those animals before the users' eyes.
This AR feature comes with a button that says “View in your space.”
On initial launch, users must first "Give access” to camera and device storage to “Get a better look.”
What’s black and white and AR all over?
A giant panda in Search. pic.twitter.com/P4M2ki7uMe
— Google (@Google) May 31, 2019
The interface for interacting with the objects is like how users would interact with objects using Google Lens.
With a Google logo at the top, with a sheet describing the object users are interacting with. These creatures feature sound effects that automatically play as users spin and zoom them.
Users can also tap anywhere on the screen to remove the controls, and see them on fullscreen.
In this AR feat, Google can also make the animals more life-like by making 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.
Previously, Google had teased its AR features, such as Dining and Translation filters for Google Lens at its 2019 Google I/O developer conference. This time, the company is trying to showcase some of that capacity.
In May, Google has included AR walking directions into its Google Maps app on Pixel phones.
Google said that it is also partnering with NASA, New Balance, Samsung, Target, Visible Body, Volvo, Wayfair, and others to put third-party contents in this AR feature.