Google Adds Augmented Reality to Search Results
Enter search term and get transported into an augmented world!
During the I/O developer conference today, Google announced a new search functionality utilizing augmented reality (AR) and Google Lens. The new search features will utilize a combination of augmented reality, camera and computer vision in overlaying content and information onto the physical environment of the users.
— Google (@Google) May 7, 2019
A user could search for an item on Google Search and then see it in front of them via the phone’s camera. Google demonstrated an example of someone searching for a “great white shark” and then seeing a real 3D model of the shark via their smartphone’s camera. The search engine also displayed similar 3D model results of human muscular system from a search of musculature. Users can subsequently view these 3D models as ordinary 3D objects on their screens or they can choose to overlay the images on their camera feed so as to allow them to see the objects in the real world. A great example would be when one is shopping for some fashion item and then they overlay or superimpose the image of the fashion item on their real wardrobe and so forth.
The scope of the 3D content is still very limited so it is still not clear how many of these will appear in the search results. It’s also still unclear whether publishers will be able to create their own 3D content that can rank and appear in the search results pages. Google will be releasing more information about this 3D search feature later today at the I/O developer conference.
The AR features will begin rolling out in the Google search results later this month and in the subsequent months and years, enabling users browsing for content to view and interact with 3D objects.
With the use of smartphones, users will even be able to augment this digital information on the real world or the physical space of their smartphone’s viewfinder.
The 3D search feature could also lend itself to more practical uses. It’s possible to see how it could easily lend itself to retail applications similar to those that have been rolled out by Houzz, Shutterstock and IKEA where users will be able to superimpose images of the products that they wish to purchase onto their real spaces in order to view how the products will actually look in their physical spaces. An IKEA shopper, for example, is able to overlay digital life-size images of furniture on sale onto the real spaces and see how the furniture will look in their homes. Similarly, with the Google 3D search functionality, retailers will be able to create 3D objects that can appear in Google search results and which users will be able to interact with in order to enhance the buying experience.
Several partners have already signed up with Google to have their 3D models featured in the search results. These include several top brands such as Wayfair, Target, Samsung, Visible Body, Volvo and New Balance among others.
Apart from the AR search functionality, Google Lens will also be rolling out several new features. Google Lens is already accessible through the Google mobile app search bar and it is now being upgraded in order to give users more visual answers to visual questions.
The upcoming Google Lens updates include the following:-
- Automatic translations: Users will be able to point Google Lens at any text and translate to more than 100 languages.
- Restaurant menu search: You can point Google Lens at a menu and you will receive details on the dishes including photos and reviews.
- Text-to-speech: Point the Google Lens at a body of text and it will be read out to you aloud.
The text-to-speech functionality will initially be released on the scaled down Google Go app. Later on, it will be roll out onto the main app.
The initial rollout will appear a bit cool and gimmicky, transporting users from a search term into an almost realistic augmented reality experience via the Google app. It’s pretty futuristic. In the future, this what our internet surfing experience might look like.