Even if stay-at-home orders are slowly lifting all around the globe, we're mostly supposed to stay inside to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. But that shouldn't stop us from exploring things we'd normally see in museums or shops thanks to 3D models available in Google Search on Android and iOS. We've already covered which animals and pets you can lure into your home, but if you and your kids get tired of acting as an amateur zoologist, there is a whole world to explore, starting with planets and space crafts courtesy of NASA over anatomy all the way to shopping for shoes, and most recently, chemistry models.
In late August, Google updated its list of devices that support ARCore with an addition of 28 new phones including Google's brand-new Pixel 4a, the LG Velvet 5G, Moto G8 Power Lite and G Pro, Vivo X50 and X50 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy A20, A20s, A30s, and Z Flip 5G, among a whole lot more. This time, the company's once again topped up the list with eight more.
Last year during Google I/O (it feels so long ago), Google introduced AR animal models you can put into your home, available right through Google Search without requiring extra software. Over the following year, the company has added many more 3D models to its library, including skeletons, planets and other celestial bodies, NASA equipment, anatomic models, cell structures, and many more. Now Google has expanded the list of supported 3D models with chemistry terms.
Summer is in full swing, which means the air and ground are teeming with little critters, crawlies, and other tiny things that fly and buzz. If you're not having enough of those buggers in real life, you can now view them in AR through your phone's screen as Google just added 23 insects to its collection of 3D animals in search.
GPS has made it possible to always know where you are. Actually, scratch that—not always. GPS can be flaky in dense urban areas, but Google has a solution. The Live View AR feature from walking navigation is now available as an option to calibrate your location and orientation. The option is a bit hidden, though.
On many Android devices, Google Search lets you view tons of 3D models like animals, pets, skeletons, cells, Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, and much more. With the tap of a button, you can move these objects into your home and see them as though they were in your camera's viewfinder. It's even possible to snap photos and take videos. The list of supported phones is ever-expanding — devices like the Sony Xperia 1 II, the Poco X2, the Xiaomi Redmi K30, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab S6 Lite made the cut we when checked in at the beginning of June, and now a few more are popping up, including the flagship Galaxy S20 series.
AR applications on Android have historically always had problems with proper depth sensing and distinguishing between foreground and background in the physical world. Whenever you'd add an AR object, it would just sit on top of the whole scenery in front of your viewfinder, regardless of whether or not something should realistically block the view. After an extensive preview phase introduced last year, Google is now launching its new Depth API to ARCore to all developers using Android and Unity.
Google presented AR objects in Search with much fanfare during its developer conference last year, and it probably would've loved to talk about additions and improvements during this year's I/O. With the event canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company has instead shared some news on the feature via a blog post. In it, Google shows off new 3D objects, such as additional anatomic models and magnified views of cells. There are also new capabilities for the viewer.
There are a lot of fun 3D objects like skeletons, cars, planets, and animals you can view in Google Search, which might be perfect to pass the time while you and your kids are stuck at home. The underlying technology enabling this is called Google Play Services for AR, formerly known as ARCore. It's an engine that powers most games and applications on Android that use augmented reality effects. However, since the framework has to be tuned for each device, Google has to periodically update Play Services to support new phones and tablets.
Depending on where you live, you could be just days or entire months into quarantine as we try to bore the novel coronavirus out of existence. Too bad the quarantine's doing the same to us, huh? Well, if you find yourself creating Bitmoji scenes, building wooden block towers to pass the ages, or even looking at tigers and other animals in 3D space, you might want to fit in some playtime with some AR emoji or "Playmoji" as Google calls them.