Google Search now conjures AR animals for you

Panda in the street? Alligator in the subway? Shark at Starbucks? Google brings AR and 3D objects to iOS and Android phones.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
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You search for "tiger" and there's a invitation to launch a tiger into the real world. Google Search has popped 3D animated objects and AR into people's phones this morning, just in case you're looking for animals.

I got to try Google's AR-enabled Search a few weeks ago at Google's I/O developer conference, and now the feature's available if you have an ARCore or ARKit-ready iPhone or Android phone. It worked in Safari on an iPhone XS while I was commuting to the city.

It's only AR animals for now, and a certain restricted range: Searches for shark, brown bear, giant panda, alligator, penguin, tiger, Shetland pony, pug, raccoon and macaw definitely work. Maybe you'll find others. The information pops up as a square of info midway through the page, with a launcher that brings up the 3D animated animal or overlays it in AR.

Google also launched new Lens features on iOS and Android this week. Google's mission for both Lens and AR is to try to find ways to make them more useful. Eventually, Google Search may start bringing up more 3D objects and even store items to instantly browse in AR.

For now, it'll at least mean a fast way to conjure up a penguin.

(Updated, 4:47pm:) I've been curious how many animals I could find that pop up in AR. So, here are some early successes:

Turtle and wolf.

Octopus and cat.

And a puppy (search for "dog")