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Putting a tiger in your living room is generally not advisable. Unless it's a virtual one, that is. Thankfully, Google has enough 3D AR tigers to go around, along with dozens of other exotic and not so exotic critters you can snap photos and videos of from anywhere you currently happen to be standing. In this post, we'll show you how to use them, along with other cool 3D objects, using only the power of Google search and a compatible smartphone.
60+ diverse animals
One of the most impressive aspects of these AR animals is how they're scaled, appearing in your space exactly as they would in real life (this is probably why elephants aren't an option just yet). Thankfully, you can shrink and enlarge them by pinching on the screen, as I have in the above photo, so that you can fit the bigger animals in your space or see smaller critters up close. Realistic sound effects and animations bring these models to life as well, giving the sense that they truly are in the room.
The bunny first started out as an Easter Bunny, but has since lost its blue bowtie.
Right now Google's got over 30 3D animals available to check out in AR:
Google also added 10 different dinosaurs, which, unlike the regular animals, scale to fit your viewfinder. That helps you see them in your space, but you can also tap "View actual size" to enlarge them to their correct scale and realize how huge they really are.
If dinos are too big for you, and your prefer tiny creatures, you can also explore the newly-added 20+ insects. These are also adjusted to fit your viewfinder, so you'll see a much larger version of them. Tapping "View actual size" scales them down to their original, smaller dimensions.
- Atlas beetle
- Atlas moth
- Brown cicada
- Evening cicada
- Firefly (pick the insect, not the movie)
- Giant stag
- Hercules beetle
- Jewel beetle
- Ladybug (pick the insect, not the movie)
- Miyama stag beetle
- Morpho butterfly
- Periodical cicada
- Robust cicada (or Hyalessa maculaticollis)
- Rosalia batesi (card won't show up, find another insect then look for it in the Related section)
- Rhinoceros beetle
- Shining ball scarab beetle (or Leiodidae)
- Stag beetle
- Swallowtail butterfly
- Walker’s cicada (or Meimuna opalifera)
Thanks to AR Core, the same software responsible for AR stickers in the Google camera app, these animals will react to your environment too. Move the animal over to the coffee table, and it'll stand on it. Combine that with the ability to take pictures and videos, and you can get a photo/vid of you having afternoon tea with a tiger.
If you want a more detailed view of these creatures, you can look at them without AR. Each animal will open like this by default, offering a "view in your space" button to enter AR mode. Here you can rotate each model without having to walk around the room, as well as zoom in close to see every detail Google has packed into each animal. Aside from having no terrain to interact with, they'll still behave as they do in AR view; the tiger roars, the wolf howls, the dog barks, and the hedgehog burrows. As someone who is obsessed with animals, but doesn't have any of their own, I love this. This is the closest I'll ever get to a lot of these furbabies, and being able to see and interact with them is great fun.
Compatible phones, how to find animals
Getting started with AR animals couldn't be easier. First of all, you'll need a compatible phone or tablet. This list is pretty comprehensive, with all the popular models from Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei, Google, and others featured. It's not just the latest and greatest either, with old-timers and budget phones also supported; you can check if your device is compatible here.
If you do have a compatible phone, all you need to do is make a search for the animal in the Google app. You can also click the links in all the lists above while browsing on your phone (it doesn't work on the desktop). You should see a card offering to introduce you to a life-sized furry little friend, and pressing "view in 3D" will display the chosen animal against a white background, where you can rotate and pan around. Hit "view in your space" to enter AR mode, and follow the instructions for measuring your surroundings.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Google adds next, hopefully starting with more breeds of cats and dogs. As Google does so, we'll keep this list up-to-date with all the available wildlife.
This post has been updated to include new additions from the dinosaurs and insects categories.