This story was originally published and last updated .
While zoos the world over remain closed, there’s still a way you can gawk at the majestic beauty of tigers, lions, cheetahs, and goats (?) from the comfort of your own living room. With Google’s 3D AR animals, you can even snap photos and videos of your personal zoo, and all you need is a capable smartphone (we’ll show you how to figure that out below). From there, you’ll be up and running with the deer (and 30+ other animals) in no time. Let’s take a look at some of these AR animals, as well as what you’ll need to enjoy them, and when you’re done reading this, don’t forget to check the other cool 3D objects you can find in Google Search.
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.
Right now Google’s got over 30 3D animals available to check out in AR:
- Angler fish
- Brown bear
- French Bulldog
- Golden / Labrador Retriever
- Shetland pony
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 you can get a photo of you having afternoon tea with a tiger.
If you want a more detailed view at 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 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.