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Google 3D Animals: How to use Google AR feature with your phone

Google AR cats
© nextpit

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Augmented reality isn't limited to just capturing Pokémons or attempting a dry run at arranging furniture in your home without having to break a sweat. One of the most fun uses of this technology is to bring pets, famous athletes, and even dinosaurs right into the comfort of your home using Google search. Learn how to maximize this feature in this tutorial.

Google's augmented reality search takes advantage of your smartphone's camera, accelerometer, and processors to simulate life-size objects in your environment. The tool is available on both Android devices and the iPhone as well as iPad, and is also used in the Google Arts & Culture app for artwork.

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Before you begin

To view 3D objects with Google's augmented reality feature, you will first need a smartphone or tablet that supports ARCore (Android 7 or higher) or ARKit (iOS/iPadOS 11 or higher).

The list of compatible devices can be viewed on this page, which is updated from time to time. For selected Android devices, you may need to install or update the AR app from the Google Play Store.

Using all of the various smartphone processors simultaneously does consume a lot of battery and heat up the device - it is somewhat akin to playing a game with all of the bells and whistles turned on. Therefore, before using this feature, it is highly recommended charging your device until it is full and not use the augmented reality feature if the smartphone/tablet is hot to the touch.

To demonstrate how to use Google's augmented reality feature, let's take a look at a cat as an example. Apparently, this is a hugely popular search term on the Internet...

How to view a cat in 3D in your home

Open the Chrome browser (Android | iOS) or the Google app (Android | iOS) on your smartphone or tablet and follow the steps below:

Google AR EN 1
3D view can be opened in Chrome or Google's search app / © NextPit
  1. Search for "cat" or use a compatible search term (check out the list below).
  2. In the results screen, tap the View in 3D button.
  3. In the 3D display, tap the View in your space button.
  4. Authorize access for the device camera and follow the given instructions as you pan across your current environment.
Google AR EN 2
Information card (right) suggests additional search terms in the augmented reality display / © NextPit

The augmented reality display lets you capture photos or record videos by interacting with the 3D animation, just like how a regular camera app does. In addition, some search terms offer the option to view related subjects in 3D - such as "More Animals" in the example above. Fancy having a giant panda in your living room?

Other search terms compatible with Google 3D visualization


Pomeranian, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, French Bulldog, Pug, and different cat breeds.

Land Animals

Tiger, giant panda, leopard, goat, cheetah, pony, grizzly bear, wolf, Shetland pony, python, Arabian horse, raccoon, hedgehog, and deer.


Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Pteranodon, and Parasaurolophus.

Google AR examples 1
Dinosaurs and wild animals are some of the highlights of search with AR / © Google

Aquatic Animals

Mallard, alligator, white shark, octopus, anglerfish, and sea turtle.


Macaw, emperor penguin, and eagle.


Simone Biles, Leticia Bufoni, Caleb Dressler, Naomi Osaka, and Megan Rapinoe.

Human anatomy

Digestive system, respiratory system, endocrine system, female reproductive system, nervous system, lymphatic system, male reproductive system, integumentary system, excretory system, peripheral nervous system, urinary system, skeletal system, muscular system, and circulatory system.

Biological terms

Monocot, dicot, eukaryotic chromosome structure, red blood cell, monocyte, neutrophil, basophil, and eosinophil.

Physical and chemical terms

Solenoid, Organic functions, organic chemistry, methyl acetate, propanol, salicylic acid, 1-bromobutane, hydrocarbon, alkane, electrolyte, ionic bondo ionic bond, covalent bond, chemical bond, metal bond, chemical compound, ethene, hybridization, and quantum mechanical model.

Cultural heritage and objects

Chichén Itzá, Brandenburg Gate, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Gateway to India, Chauvet Cave, Ahu Nau Nau, and Apollo 11 command module.

Google AR examples 2
Evangelion (center) and Ultraman (right) don't fit at home / © Google

Japanese pop culture

Ultraman , Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Belial, Gomora, Evangelion, Gundam(Gundam Odysseus, Gundam XI, Gundam Penelope), Cogimyun, Taiko no Tatsujin, Pac-man, Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, and Kiki and Lala.

Did you know about Google's augmented reality feature before this? Do you like playing around with it? What other augmented or virtual reality features do you often use on your smartphone or tablet?

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Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima

Having written about technology since 2008 for a number of websites in Brazil, Spain, Denmark, and Germany, I specialize in the mobile ecosystem, including various models, components, and apps. I tend to not only value performance and specifications, but also things like repairability, durability, and manufacturer support. I tend to prioritize the end-user's point of view whenever possible.

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  • Vince 24
    Vince May 25, 2021 Link to comment

    J'ai l'application sur mon smartphone, mais je me demandais à quoi servit-est-il ?
    Maintenant, je le sais !