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Google’s augmented reality search results are a true magic leap for AR

Search is Google’s core technology. That it’s adding augmented reality to search is a big moment in the advent of AR.

Google’s augmented reality search results are a true magic leap for AR
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At its developer conference in Mountain View, California, Google announced that it’s adding augmented reality search results to its core search product.

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You can search for a shark, for example, and a special information window pops up with information about the animal. Then the AR happens. Click another link and the shark is superimposed over the real world in front of you through the smartphone camera. If you’re outside or in a big room, the shark appears in front of you at scale.

[Animation: courtesy of Google]
Google also demonstrated a search for an arm muscle flexing, and delivered a 3D AR image showing exactly how the arm muscle flexes. The user was able to place the 3D image in the user’s room (via the smartphone camera).

Another application allowed the user to shop for clothing by superimposing the 3D products over their existing wardrobe to see if the colors go together well.

Augmented reality, so far, has been mainly confined to phones, although companies like Microsoft and Magic Leap have released advanced AR head-worn devices. AR has a long way to go to become a mainstream consumer technology. Right now, companies like Google are trying to find useful, real-world applications that introduce people to the technology. AR search is an example. Google is also testing superimposing real-time graphics over the the real world in its Maps application.

About the author

Fast Company Senior Writer Mark Sullivan covers emerging technology, politics, artificial intelligence, large tech companies, and misinformation. An award-winning San Francisco-based journalist, Sullivan's work has appeared in Wired, Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC News, CNET, and many others.

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