Introduced last spring, the ability to preview animals via augmented reality in Google Search has been gaining momentum lately. No wonder. Little 3D animal fun comes in really handy when we are all starting to go a little bit stir-crazy because of this Corona virus malarkey.

The other day, my daughter Izzy and I spent the whole morning snapping away various animals around the house. We had SO MUCH fun doing this! You could easily make this into a fun learning experience about animals for your kids. For older kids, you could also turn it into a project: to create an animal map, picture story, little printable book, postcard etc. 

Alternatively, just send the snaps to your friends and family to give them a little shock - Izzy's grandma was rather perplexed when she received a picture of Izzy stroking a tiger in the garden... ;-)

How does it work?

You will need a modern smartphone to do this. Type an animal name (such as 'tiger') to Google and click on 'View in 3D' button below 'Meet a life-size tiger up close' heading. Camera view will open (you'll need to give Google access to your camera). Shortly after, a 3D tiger will appear in your own surroundings. You can now start snapping! You can turn the animal around and resize it to suit your photographic vision...

What animals can I view in 3D?

There is no official list from Google but here is a handy list for you:

  • Alligator
  • Angler fish
  • Brown bear
  • Cat
  • Cheetah
  • Dog
    • Labrador Retriever
    • Pug
    • Rottweiler
  • Duck
  • Eagle
  • Emperor penguin
  • Giant panda
  • Goat
  • Hedgehog
  • Horse
  • Lion
  • Macaw
  • Octopus
  • Racoon
  • Shark
  • Shetland pony
  • Snake
  • Tiger
  • Turtle
  • Wolf

Which smartphones are supported? 

The good news is that most modern smartphones are supported. To view AR objects in Google Search you’ll need:

  • iPhone/iPad: iOS 11.0 or higher
  • Android smartphone or tablet: Android 7.0 or higher w/ pre-installed Google Play Store

If you'd like to see 3D animals in action have a look at Hands-on with google 3d animals video.

Well done, Google, this is seriously cool!