Google AR cats
Google AR cats

Google’s augmented reality search uses your smartphone’s camera, accelerometer, and processors to simulate life-size objects around you. The tool is available on both Android devices and the iPhone and iPad and is also used in the Google Arts & Culture app for graphics.

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before you start

To display 3D objects with Google’s augmented reality function, you first need a smartphone or tablet that supports ARCore (Android 7 or higher) or ARKit (iOS / iPadOS 11 or higher).

The list of compatible devices can be viewed on this page, which is updated from time to time. For select Android devices, you may need to install or update the AR app from the Google Play Store.

Using all different smartphone processors at the same time consumes a lot of battery and heats up the device – it is somewhat similar to a game in which all the bells and whistles are switched on. Before using this function, it is highly recommended to charge the device until it is full and not to use the augmented reality function if the smartphone / tablet is hot to the touch.

As an example, let’s look at a cat to demonstrate how to use Google’s augmented reality feature. Apparently this is an extremely popular search term on the internet …

How to see a cat in 3D in your home

Open the Chrome browser (Android | iOS) or the Google app (Android | iOS) on your smartphone or tablet and perform the following steps:

Google AR EN 1

The 3D view can be opened in Chrome or in the Google search app / © NextPit

  1. Search for “cat” or use a compatible search term (see list below).
  2. On the results screen, tap View in 3D Button.
  3. On the 3D display, tap View in your room Button.
  4. Authorize access for the device camera and follow the given instructions while panning in your current environment.
Google AR EN 2

The information card (right) suggests additional search terms in the augmented reality display / © NextPit

The augmented reality display lets you take photos or videos by interacting with the 3D animation, just like you would with a regular camera app. In addition, some search terms allow you to view related topics in 3D – for example, “More Animals” in the example above. Do you fancy a giant panda in your living room?

Other search terms compatible with Google 3D visualization


Pomeranian, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, French Bulldog, Pug, and various breeds of cats.

Land animals

Tiger, giant panda, leopard, goat, cheetah, pony, grizzly bear, wolf, Shetland pony, python, Arabian horse, raccoon, hedgehog and deer.


Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Pteranodon and Parasaurolophus.

Google AR Examples 1

Dinosaurs and wild animals are some of the highlights of searching with AR / © Google

Aquatic animals

Mallard duck, alligator, great white shark, octopus, anglerfish and sea turtle.


Macaw, emperor penguin and eagle.


Simone Biles, Leticia Bufoni, Caleb Dressler, Naomi Osaka and Megan Rapinoe.

Human anatomy

Digestive system, respiratory system, endocrine system, female reproductive system, nervous system, lymphatic system, male reproductive system, integumental system, excretory system, peripheral nervous system, urinary system, skeletal system, muscular system and circulatory system.

Biological terms

Monocot, dicot, eukaryotic chromosome structure, red blood cells, monocytes, neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils.

Physical and chemical terms

Solenoid, organic functions, organic chemistry, methyl acetate, propanol, salicylic acid, 1-bromobutane, hydrocarbon, alkane, electrolyte, ionic bond, ionic bond, covalent bond, chemical bond, metal bond, chemical bond, ethene, hybridization and quantum mechanics model.

Cultural heritage and objects

Chichén Itzá, Brandenburg Gate, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Gateway to India, Chauvet Cave, Ahu Nau Nau and Apollo 11 command module.

Google AR Examples 2

Evangelion (center) and Ultraman (right) don’t fit at home / © Google

Japanese pop culture

Ultraman, Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Belial, Gomora, Evangelion, Gundam (Gundam Odysseus, Gundam XI, Gundam Penelope), Cogimyun, Taiko no Tatsujin, Pac-Man, Hello Kitty, Pompompurin and Kiki and Lala.

Did you know about Google’s augmented reality function beforehand? Do you like to play around with it? What other augmented or virtual reality functions do you often use on your smartphone or tablet?


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