At I/O, Google had a cute — and terrifying — demo where an AR 3D shark was placed right on the stage. It didn't take much; a simple search for the word "shark," a couple of taps, and the spine-chilling animal was just there swinging left to right, grinning with his clean white teeth on show. You can have that same experience now as the feature is going live for users. I recommend playing the Jaws theme song while you're testing it, for maximum effect.
To try this, simply do a Google search for "shark" and scroll down to get to the Knowledge Graph card. You'll see a card that invites you to meet the shark up close with a View in 3D button. This also works for lion, tiger, dog, cat, bear, leopard, wolf, snake, horse, deer, turtle, panda, cheetah, eagle, and more. Not all animals are supported though; I got nothing for rhino, hippo, whale, elephant, dolphin, panther, giraffe, etc...
Tapping the button loads the shark in 3D and you can spin it around and change its size, but what you really want is the View in your space option. This loads a permission screen, then uses ARCore to let you place the shark right around you. On my Pixel 2 XL with Android Q, ARCore kept crashing, but things worked well on my OnePlus 6T, so your mileage may vary.
You can use one finger to move the animal in space, and two to make it bigger or smaller or even spin it around. You can also physically move around it to check different sides, and wait for it to make some noises and signature movements. I'll admit that having the shark floating in the pharmacy wasn't appealing for walk-ins; maybe I should put up a "Zoo" sign at the door to get more patients in. Then when they're here, a little bite and I'm back in business. Marketing strategy 101. Or I could just stick with the panda and dog instead of pythons and sharks.
When Google announced 3D AR models in search, it said the feature would also work with Visible Body for anatomy, New Balance for shoes and sports apparel, NASA, Samsung, Target, Volvo, and Wayfair, but I couldn't replicate any of those. It's only animals for now, but there's a lot of fun to be had with them.
Got to go, there's a panda behind me and he's threatening to eat all drug boxes once that bamboo is done.
It's official. Googler Rajan Patel announced this feature is going live in Search. However, as many of our readers said, you may need to make sure you're using google.com and that your search language is set to English US for it to work.
- Dmytro Tkachuk