Today sees the start of the annual Google I/O event, where the search giant makes a wide variety of announcements from AI to (hopefully) virtual reality (VR). The conference has already introduced augmented reality (AR) with a new feature soon to launch for Google Search.
Due to arrive later this month, the world’s most popular search engine will support AR directly. This will mean that users around the world will be able to search Google as usual, with 3D models then made available to view in the real world. As the image above easily demonstrates, searching for Great White Sharks and seeing a 2D image is one thing, but suddenly seeing the 18ft marine animal in your own space and correctly scaled gives a far greater impression.
When a search is made an option appears right in the Knowledge Panel to view select content in 3D and AR, being able to scan a nearby surface to then place the model.
The feature will have a wide range of uses cases, from seeing life-size animals to shopping: “We’re also working with partners like NASA, New Balance, Samsung, Target, Visible Body, Volvo, Wayfair and more to surface their own content in Search. So whether you’re studying human anatomy in school or shopping for a pair of sneakers, you’ll be able to interact with 3D models and put them into the real world, right from Search,” says Aparna Chennapragada, VP, Google Lens and AR on Google Blog.
This could be massive for the adoption of AR technology. When it comes to consumer AR tech it has generally been limited to videogames like Pokemon GO and Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs, shopping apps like Shutterstock’s ‘View in a Room’, or brand awareness programmes such as the recent Jack Daniel’s AR app. With AR available directly through Google Search, it takes the niche technology to one that has easily identifiable real-world use cases for casual users, students and professionals, whatever their needs.
VRFocus will be covering the very latest VR and AR news from Google I/O this week, so stay tuned as further announcements are made.