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Google search now displays 360-degree views of sneakers when shopping


It’s now possible to use Google search for more than just Taylor Swift ticket queries: starting today in the US, the search engine will use augmented reality to help you find the perfect pair of shoes from the comfort of your home. The search giant is also making its AR beauty feature more inclusive and easier to use.

As what appears to be a part of the reinvention of Google’s search engine, Google now displays 360-degree 3D views of sneakers after first introducing the feature during September’s Search On event. You can zoom in on the details, spin the shoes around, and use AR to see what they’d look like in your own space.

GIF showing a google search for Vans sneakers where the shoe can be manipulated in 3D and then placed on a kitchen table using AR.

Google now lets you shop for some sneaker brands like Vans in 3D and AR.

For now, though, users can only get these 3D images of sneakers from Saucony, Vans, Sperry, and Merrell. Google will be adding more sneaker brands like Puma, along with more kinds of shoes in the future.

If 3D shoe shopping sounds familiar, it’s because eBay and Amazon already offer similar solutions. It’s also just like Google’s 3D images of home goods the company added in May.

However, adding AR sneaker shopping to the internet’s dominant search engine could still be good news for merchants. “Shoppers engage with 3D imagery 50 percent more than static ones, which presents a big opportunity for brands,” Danielle Buckley, director of product for consumer shopping, wrote to The Verge in an email. “Starting today, any sneaker brand can show their products in 3D and AR on Google.”

Google’s also working on technology it says should make it easier to build such 3D models, thus helping merchants save time and money. Google’s senior director of product, shopping Lilian Rincon delved slightly deeper into the tech offering in her September blog post.

“While many merchants already have 3D models available, we know creating these assets can be expensive and time consuming, often requiring hundreds of product photos and costly technology,” wrote Rincon. “So, to make this process more efficient and cost-effective, we’re announcing a new way to build 3D visuals. Thanks to our advancements in machine learning, we can now automate 360-degree spins of sneakers using just a handful of still photos (instead of hundreds).”

Models from different backgrounds and skin tones.

Google’s new AR beauty feature update includes a library of 148 models with a variety of different skin tones.
Image: Google

In addition to new 3D sneakers, Google’s also updating its AR beauty feature to make it easier to use and more inclusive. Google says it rolled out a new photo library with 148 models that represent a “diverse spectrum of skin tones, ages, genders, face shapes, ethnicities, and underrepresented skin types.” The tech giant claims this should give shoppers over 2,000 foundation shades, thus improving their chances of finding the right fit.

All shoppers need to do is look up a foundation shade on Google, and they’ll be shown what it looks like on models with similar skin tones. Customers can then choose which retailer they want to buy it from.

Foundation is the most searched makeup category on Google search, according to Buckley. However, 41 percent of online beauty shoppers return beauty or cosmetic products purchased online because it’s the wrong shade.

Correction November 17th, 10:01AM ET: Google incorrectly stated to The Verge that Puma would be part of the initial launch. The brand will join Vans and others later. Google regrets the error.



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