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Bring A Life-Sized AR Panda Into Your Home With This New Google Search Feature

June 03, 2019

Next time you search for an animal like an alpine goat, tiger, or lion using Google Search you might be able to bring an augmented-reality version of the animal into the room with you.

Google rolled out a new card for search this week that allows you to bring virtual animals into your space provided you have an AR-enabled phone.

To make it happen, all you have to do is search for the animal. Within the search results, you’ll see a “Meet a life-sized [animal] up close” button. Tap on that to have a bear, emperor penguin, or hedgehog show up in front of you, complete with real-life sound effects to complete the experience.

They’re also not kidding about life-sized. A lion took up the better part of my home office when it appeared, and the giant panda on my couch left little room for anything else. When I put a bear on my street, he looked like he was just going for a casual stroll.

It’s obviously a bit more of a novelty for adults who have likely seen those animals before, but I can see the feature being particularly useful when explaining the size of an animal like a Giant Panda to a child. Sure, you can tell a child (or an adult) how tall something is or how much it weights, but that’s nothing compared to seeing it sitting on your sofa.

The feature works for a ton of animals include Giant pandas, lions, European hedgehogs, angler fish, alpine goats, and sharks.

Google originally announced the AR feature at Google I/O last month. While the animals are the first thing to show up, at the time it said it was also working with NASA, Volvo, Samsung, New Balance, Target, Wayfair and other companies to bring AR items to search, so this is likely not the last application of the feature we’ll see.


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