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Google search spotlights endangered species in AR

An augmented reality presentation shows five endangered species at scale, showing how they move and the sounds they make.

Google search delivers an AR representation of five endangered species, inlcuding the arctic fox.

The white-backed woodpecker is one the rarest and the most vulnerable of the woodpeckers in Europe. Though races of the bird can be found as far east as Korea and Japan, its numbers are in decline in Nordic countries, leading the Swedish to enact protections to try to preserve the species.

There are currently more than 38,000 species of animals that are threatened with extinction, according to the Red List of Threatened Species put out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which evaluates the extinction risk of thousands of species.

To raise awareness of endangered animals, Google has partnered with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation to showcase five new Swedish endangered species. By searching for the white-backed woodpecker in the Google app and tapping 3D View, users can get an up-close, augmented reality look at the bird in life-size scale, complete with how it moves and sounds. Other animals profiled in the AR presentation are the lynx, arctic fox, harbour porpoise and moss carder bee.


AR versions of the lynx, arctic fox, white-backed woodpecker, harbour porpoise and moss carder bee can be found in the Google app.


The project comes as the United Nations hosts a biodiversity conference this week, at which countries from around the world will discuss targets to protect the natural world, including protections on endangered species.

Google began putting 3D objects into Google search a couple of years ago and recently added even more AR searchable things, like skeletons and microscopic cell structures. Google has a lot of animals, including dinosaurs, and also some space objects, like planets and satellites, via NASA.