We need to think out the box with being isolated with the kids for days on end. Most zoos are closed all over the world. So thank goodness the clever team at Google have come up with a genius way to bring a zoo of AR Animals right into the middle of your home.
This super-cool Google Augmented Reality – AR Animals feature has actually been around since last year but they’ve been refined over the last few months. We haven’t really had a moment to explore them. Well, now we’re stuck at home, it’s the perfect time to get close to this virtual wildlife.
It’s Like Magic
I gave it a try last night and I was blown away about how real the whole experience was. I magic-ed a gorgeous golden labrador dog into our lounge room and you should have seen my daughter’s face when I showed her the photo in the morning. She’s always wanted a dog and couldn’t believe she’d missed the visit from a pooch while she was sleeping. But then she saw the picture of the tiger and lion in our kitchen and her eyes almost popped out.
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We then spent ages with the kids posing with the various AR zoo animals – giving them pats, cuddles and kisses (no social distancing required when it’s all virtual).
How Do You Access The AR Animals
You can access these AR animals in Google Search, simply by typing the name of an animal into Google search on your phone (which needs to be AR-compatible – most phones do support this and if not, there is still a 3D version you should be able to access).
If an AR animal exists, you will see a preview card on the search results screen with a picture of the virtual animal and a prompt: “Meet a life-sized (name of animal) up close.” The “View in 3D” button then triggers the AR environment.
You are then taken to a new screen where you are asked to move your phone around the room to activate the AR. Once you have done this for a few seconds, a 3D version of the animal appears on your phone screen within the room. You can move the animal around and make it bigger or smaller by pinching and expanding your fingers.
You can toggle between an AR and 3D environment (which is the animal on a white background) and also have the option to download the image and take a photo. If you don’t interact with the screen for a second, the controls disappear and you can see the animal in full screen view.
What AR Animals Are Available?
There is a variety of Google Search AR animals including: lions, tigers, bears, alpine goats, timberwolves, European hedgehogs, angler fish, dogs, leopards, panda and emperor penguins.
The virtual animals are available on all AR-compatible devices.
Wow, with all this isolation, perhaps this is the way we’ll be shopping for clothes, beauty and shoes. But for the moment, the kids will absolutely love playing with their virtual zoo at home.
For those kids that are dino-crazy, there’s also the Jurassic World Alive app built with Google maps, where you can capture and hunt dinosaurs. It’s a bit like the Jurassic version of Pokemon and you can use AR on all the dinosaurs that you catch. It’s probably best for primary aged kids and older but it’s a pretty awesome adventure.
Have you tried these Google AR animals? Tell us in the comments below.