Google search using AR to show monuments in 3D

You can find all 3D monuments by searching on Android or iOS and then scrolling through the Knowledge Panel.

The 3D models are built using 3D data from Google Earth and displayed via ModelViewer.

Popular search engine Google added Augmented Reality (AR) few years ago. It first introduced popular 3D animals, followed by dinosaurs, cars, and athletes from the recent Olympics, among other objects that we can place in our living room and view from any angle using our smartphone.

Google is now using augmented reality to bring you landmarks and monuments. Google’s Arts & Culture team has added 3D virtual tours of iconic landmarks to its Search product, including the Tokyo Tower, Florence’s Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella basilicas, and South Africa’s Union Buildings. In total, Google has added augmented reality to approximately 98 monuments around the world.

These 3D monuments, like all AR objects in Google Search, begin with a rotating model that can be zoomed into. The AR viewing experience in Google Search differs from Google Earth in that it allows users to place all 3D monuments in their environment.

The 3D models are created using 3D data from Google Earth and displayed using ModelViewer, Google’s web-based protocol for handling 3D and AR content.

“Not only will you be able to navigate smoothly to each stop of the tour but objects along the way can also be viewed in AR,” wrote Florent Robineau and Joe Shepherd, tech lead and associate product manager, respectively, at Google Arts & Culture on the company’s website.

All 98 3D monuments can be found by searching on Android or iOS, then scrolling through the Knowledge Panel until you find the “View in 3D” card. There are numerous panels, with the AR model eventually becoming just another tool. Google Arts & Culture has previously provided 3D models of historic sites such as Chauvet Cave, but those were created through 3D scanning. The most recent treasure trove lacks high fidelity, but we’re also dealing with much larger structures where 3D scanning would be a Herculean task.

Google’s augmented reality is only available on devices that support ARCore. Most devices released in the last year are now compatible with this technology.

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