Google has announced during its 2019 Google I/O conference that 3D and Augmented Reality objects can be displayed as a SERP feature in the Google Search Engine.

But how does it work?

How can you link your webpage with a 3D object and then display it in the SERP?

Let’s figure out together.

Discover 3D Augmented Reality models directly in Google search

If you are looking for an Augmented Reality experience in the search of Google, you will have to start this journey from your smartphone.

3D objects are only available from the mobile search page of Google

Take your smartphone, do a search like “muscle flexion,” and you should find a result that is a little bit different compare to the others.

The search result for a 3D object looks like many other search results, and displays:

  • The URL of the page
  • The title of the page
  • The description with an image if available

The only difference is that you can find a button or CTA labeled “View in 3D

3D objects are only available in the mobile search page of Google.

Click on View in 3D

If you click on View in 3D, you will be able to display an object in 3D directly from your web browser.

You can see the 3D object and use your fingers to rotate or zoom. Or you also can display the object in augmented reality.

Cool, isn’t it?

By clicking on the cross, you will go back to the SERP. Now you can either visit the page or continue searching for other 3D objects.

View in 3D, you will be able to display an Object in 3D directly from your web browser.

Find 3D animals on Google

Google started to spread 3D animals in the search result.

To find animals in 3D on Google it is very simple:

  1. Take your mobile phone
  2. Open Google
  3. Enter the name of the animal you want to see in 3D

Here the list of animals available in Google. Try to search for: lions, tigers, bears, alpine goats, timberwolves, European hedgehogs, angler fish, and emperor penguins.

Once you caught one of them on the SERP, you will have the option to display it in augmented reality and get the feeling to sit next to a real animal (or almost).

How to display a tiger in 3D on Google

It will be great if you could do the same for your website and your products.

Let see how to embed a 3D object on your site and tell Google to display it in the SERP.

Create a Structured Data 3DModel

Structured Data are a way to speak with the search engine.

With Structured Data Google understands the content of your site and enables special search result features for your pages.

When Google index your page, it reads these structured data and uses the information provided to enrich the user experience within the SERP with elements such as:

  • Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
  • How-to
  • Business details
  • Questions and Answers
  • Recipe
  • and a lot more….

Just be aware that Google has the final decision. You can have structured data on your web page; it doesn’t mean that Google will use them in the SERP.

The right schema to display 3D objects in the SERP is the structured data 3DModel

To display 3D objects in the SERP (or at least have a chance), you will need to use the structured data 3DModel and embed it in the code of your web page.

Structured Data 3DModel

To create the 3DModel schema, the following properties are required:

  • @type: 3DModel
  • name: the name of your item.
  • encoding: this property is a list and must contain your 3D assets (or MediaObject)

For each 3D objets or MediaObject, here the required properties:

  • @type: MediaObject
  • contentUrl: The URL to your 3D object
  • encodingFormat: the encoding format

The format for the 3D assets can be:

  • glTF (GL Transmission Format)
  • Universal Scene Description format, or USDZ: it will help Safari to recognize your AR content

There are many others 3D model format. Let’s have a quick review of what is a 3D model and which format is the best for the 3D SERP Feature.

What is the best 3D Model file

A 3D model is an immersive media format that allows a user to zoom in, zoom out, and rotate to explore every aspect of an object.

Used together with AR, 3D models let a the user see the 3D object in their current environment.

Many information are stored in a 3D model file, such as

  • Model’s geometry
  • Texture and color
  • Information about the scene and animations

For mobile devices, the format used to render a 3D model in real-time are the glTF and USDZ formats

Google recommend to provide at least one glTF file to be able to display 3D in the SERP.

If you have 3D assets in the formats such as FBX, OBJ, and COLLADA, you will need to convert them to glTF or USDZ to render on mobile devices.

Finally, to increase your chance to see your 3D in the SERP, it is recommended to referenced both formats glTF and USDZ in your script systems.

And now, let’s have a look at the script to embed in your web page.

Structured Data 3DModel code to embed in your page

A structured data code snippet is a simple javascript and must be placed in the HTML code of your page.

Here’s an example of JSON-LD code that you can use and adapt to your need.

<script type="application/ld+json">
{ 
   "@context":"http://schema.org/",
   "@type":"3DModel",
   "image":"",
   "name":"Muscle",
   "encoding":[ 
      { 
         "@type":"MediaObject",
         "contentUrl":"https://www.visiblebody.com/hubfs/3d-images/muscle.glb",
         "encodingFormat":"model/gltf-binary"
      },
      { 
         "@type":"MediaObject",
         "contentUrl":"https://www.visiblebody.com/hubfs/3d-images/usdz/muscle.usdz",
         "encodingFormat":"model/vnd.usdz+zip"
      }
   ]
}
</script>

Also, you must have a 3D object and host it somewhere in the cloud. For the creation of 3D objects you should look for another guide, I’m not a 3D expert.

Why should you use augmented reality in the SERP

Indeed, what is the added value for your business?

It looks fun at the first sight, but does it make sense to invest in 3D and give it away to Google?

A new way to educate

Educating your prospects is an essential stage in the buying process. And maybe one of the most critical steps.

The first moments with your brand are keys, and this is when your potential future customer can make a good or bad impression of your company.

Bringing to life your concepts can create an emotional connection and a better understanding of what you have to offer.

A new way to sell

The buying decision involves many factors. And often, they are emotional.

How many times did you buy something because you had a “good feelingabout the product, brand, or even the salesman?

How to trigger this great feeling? Not so easy. However, enjoying a more immersive experience might help.

Being able to display your next sneakers or your future car right in front of you while browsing on the internet will create a huge (emotional) impact.

A new way to sell with Augmented Reality in the SERP

Ecommerce in 3D

The following example shows the entire flow from when a user finds a 3D and AR result to when that he lands on a website.

It is an interesting scenario for e-commerce websites.

Once the user displays the object in augmented reality, the next action could be to visit the product page and buy the product.

Entire flow from when a user finds a 3D and AR
The pink bubbles indicate where a user taps on the screen.

3D and AR Early Adopters Program

If you are reading this page right now, be aware that the 3D SERP feature is currently restricted to a limited number of organizations.

If you would like to be part of the early adopter program you can submit the following form.

As soon the feature will be available to everyone, I will publish additional information here.

Feel free to start experimenting 3D in the SERP and ask Google for a dedicated access.

2 comments

  1. Fantastic! This post motivated me to do it in my company. I will come back here to share the result if they approve.

Join the conversation