Aishwarya Ramesh

Fancy a Panda in your living room? Google’s 3D lens makes it possible

The 3D lens invites quarantined viewers to take a walk on the wild side, using AR to bring the animals to their living rooms.

Want to get up close and personal with a Tiger, from the comfort of your living room? How about sitting down for dinner with a Panda? Google’s new 3D lens allows a user to do just that. When a user searches for the name of a particular animal, he has an option to ‘View in your space’. First, the user can see the animals in 3D, and then he has the option to place and view the animal in his current living space and take photos, too.

To give users an idea of the scale of an animal in real life, there is a 3D rendered creature within the camera’s viewfinder, which helps bring the animals out of zoos and natural reserves, into the homes of those reeling under lockdown. Google unveiled the “3D Animals” feature, alongside a flurry of other augmented reality (AR) filters for Lens and Search.

“It’s pretty safe to say that, over the past couple of weeks, interest in these 3D animals has exploded,” reads a blog post on 9to5Google. “This is made very evident from a quick look at Google Trends. A Trends search for “Tiger” shows that Google searches for the term — and the Knowledge Panel in particular which contains the “View in 3D” button — have skyrocketed in late March,” read the post.

However, Google’s AR technology isn’t limited to just animals. Google Search can also show you other objects – in partnership with certain brands and products. Some examples include human skeletons and planets – courtesy a collaboration with NASA.

Another tech giant which has been playing around with AR over the past few years is Apple. Since 2017, a range of apps has been made available for iPads and iPhones – including an app that lets a user convert public spaces into makeshift Jurassic Parks.

A few years ago, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA teamed up with Apple to make use of iPhone 6S (and newer models) and its AR capabilities to test out how furniture looks at home, before one makes the purchase. “IKEA Place lets you imagine how products will look, feel and fit in your home, without ever having to open your front door,” Apple said on its website.

Apple also announced the release of its AR glasses in May last year. The glasses will be released later this year.