Your next pet is a virtual Panda you don't even have to feed.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated June 01, 2020
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Staying at home may be mandatory right now, but nobody says you can’t have fun while you’re there.

Google is making sure both parents and children can stay happy and healthy while socially isolating with a few virtual tools that both entertain and educate at the same time. That includes its now wildly popular feature, AR Animals in Google Search.

In 2019, Google rolled out the AR feature, which is now gaining popularity with parents hoping to teach their kids a thing or two about the animal world in a fun way.

“With new AR features in Search...you can view and interact with 3D objects right from Search and place them directly into your own space, giving you a sense of scale and detail,” Google explained in 2019. “For example, it’s one thing to read that a great white shark can be 18 feet long. It’s another to see it up close in relation to the things around you. So when you search for select animals, you’ll get an option right in the Knowledge Panel to view them in 3D and AR.”

In the announcement, Google explained, it’s also working with major institutions and brands including 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.”

Taken with Google AR

With the search, kids can bring up AR animals and have them sit on the couch right next to their own real-life house pet. The animals interact with the users by moving around, making noises, and more.

And using the technology is simple. “Say you wanted to learn more about a shark. Type ‘shark’ in your Google search on an AR-enabled phone and a knowledge panel will appear,” Google explains. “In addition to info like the lifespan, diet, or speed of a shark, you’ll also see a ‘view in 3D’ button.”

Tap the button and the 3D shark will appear. Users can then swipe around to get a complete view of the animal and move it to different surroundings.

Taken with Google AR

“A tap on ‘view in your space’ will bring the animal you were looking up into the real world––whether it’s a brown bear taking a stroll through your room or a green sea turtle swimming over the kitchen counter,” Google said. So go ahead, invite nature inside to social distance with you and your children.