Google AR Search Gets Trendy With Pac-Man, Gundam And Hello Kitty Characters
Sometimes you have to step back and not take life so serious, as challenging as that might be with everything going on these days. In an effort to help, Google is providing a "bit of escapism" by injecting pop culture characters into its search service, brought to virtual life on your smartphone or tablet through the wonders of augmented reality.
It's a silly little thing, but we all need a little bit of silliness from time to time, don't we? To that end, Google is focusing on a handful of characters from classic Japanese anime, games, and TV shows. Characters that are viewable in AR include Evangelion, Hello Kitty, Gomora, Gundam, Pac-Man (shown above), and Ultraman.
"Now, you can have these characters do their cute thing right in front of your eyes. Take a break to watch ghosts chasing after Pac-Man or Gundam swoop in your living room!," Google explains.
To partake in the fun, just search for one of the aforementioned characters using Google Search, then scroll down and tap the "View in 3D" button. When it shows up, tap "View in your space" to replace the generic white background with your actual setting (this requires giving access to your camera, and photo roll, if you want to save screenshots).
I tried it on an iPhone XS Max with iOS 14.4.2 installed (it works with iOS 11 and higher), and sure enough, Pac-Man went in a circle eating dots, chased by ghosts. It's a little janky, as getting the AR visuals to show up where you want them to does not always happen right off the bat. However, you can move and resize the AR effect.
My pets were not nearly as amused as me, and the experience could definitely use some polish (at least on the device I tried it out with), but hey, it works and is good for a laugh.
Google also shared some interesting search statistics. For example, did you know that Pac-Man is the most searched animated character? Worldwide search for Pac-Man is more than double the next-most searched character, Hello Kitty. Also interesting is that the top country for search interest in Pac-Man is not Japan or the United States, but Peru. Go figure!