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Google Search brings Pac-Man, Hello Kitty and other Japanese characters to life through AR

By Kara Santos Published May 05, 2021 3:53 pm

Google Search has brought 14 classic characters from Japanese pop culture including anime, video games and TV shows into their augmented reality (AR) search, so you can bring 3D versions of the characters right in your living room.

The tech giant has recently brought several iconic Japanese characters, including Pac-Man, Hello Kitty and mechs from Gundam and Evangelion, among others, as AR objects anyone can interact with at home.

Currently, the searchable AR characters include Ultraman, Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Belial, Gomorra, Evangelion (Evangelion first machine), Gundam (Odysseus Gundam, Kusui Gundam, Penelope), Kogimyun, Taiko Master, Pacman, Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, and Little Twin Stars.

The AR search feature has also previously featured animals, historical artifacts and dinosaurs. 

From the search results, all you have to do is tap “View in 3D” then hit “View in your space” to project the character into your hand, onto your desk, or wherever you want. You can also record and take photos of your favourite character as they wave and move about.

Pac-Man appears with ghosts (Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde) eating power pellets, with the iconic sounds from the game as they circle around the room. Some characters like Hello Kitty, Kogimyun, and Pompompurin actually talk, so you can turn up the volume to listen to them.

The displayed characters can be rotated, magnified and displayed in your actual scenery, so you can bring your favorite character into any space in your home. You can also adjust the size of the character and enjoy immersive sound.

Check out the video below by Google to see the AR feature in action. For those looking for a bit of nostalgia and escape, it's a fun little feature to play around with your phone to capture unique photos and videos at home.

The feature currently works on Google search on Android and the iOS Google app. Here's how to try it out.

Android: In the Google app or any Android browser, search for the character name and tap 3D View. In addition to viewing 3D content on Android 7 Plus devices, you can easily explore all your characters using the 3D mode carousel display on ARCore-enabled devices.

iOS: Search for one of 14 characters from the Google app, in Chrome or Safari. 3D and AR content is available on iOS 11 Plus and later devices.

You can use the shooting options of your phone to create AR videos or take photos with your favorite characters. 

According to the search trends, Pac-Man leads the pack in terms of the most searched animated icon on Google. Globally, search interest in the dot-gobbler is more than double the next most-searched character.

Hello Kitty, a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, is the most searched in the Philippines. 

"When it comes to the broader trends, anime wins out. It’s more popular than video games worldwide, with interest for anime climbing to its highest peak on record in the past month. That’s pretty amazing—and in fact, search interest for “anime sugoi” (or “anime is amazing”) has spiked 2,300 percent in the past five years globally," said Arisa Toyosaki of Google Japan.

(Images via Google)