Google Stands Firm with New Android VR Features
Further proving they’re one of the industry’s front-runners, Google has recently introduced new VR features for its Android software. It also unmasked a new version of its Cardboard VR headset.
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Not only that, Google plans to release a standalone headset too. Details, however, like the cost, actual appearance, and the release date are yet to be announced.
What is confirmed is that Google is changing its approach on nascent media and how its methods are becoming more and more different from Facebook’s.
Google to Unveil New Android VR Features
Google is planning to reveal new Android VR features that would make viewing games and video in VR easier. The company is also working on making web content compatible so developers can make VR content that works in mobile browsers.
The Android VR features could be hurt by what hurts all new Android software: it goes into a super small set of Android phones. However, the efforts indicate Google’s dogged interest in taking VR mainstream. For people who make VR stuff, Google is departing from Facebook in an important way. Oculus has an app store for its two headsets, the Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Developers said Facebook’s approach is more like a gaming console—it handpicks select apps that will deliver top-notch experiences. Google is throwing the gates wide to anyone.
“Oculus is like Apple. Android is Android,” said Octavio Herrera, co-founder of Lucid Sight, a VR gaming company. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the app store. Oculus is building that. Google and Apple already have it.”
Google and the Rise of YouTube VR
Google already owns YouTube, and its long term vision for VR mimics the video network’s development. YouTube is what it is today because cameras were cheap and very much available. Google is hoping to develop a VR library in the same vein. It doesn’t want to stop at just making VR content available for average people, Google wants average people to be able to shoot it themselves.
Clay Bavor, YouTube VR chief, listed several use cases in a recent interview: a concert, court-side seats, and tourism. He added, “We already are on the verge of having the technology to capture [the] environment and experience” and convert it to VR footage. Therefore Google’s deal with GoPro for VR cameras, although a little slow, is aimed at achieving this goal. The drive is where Google begins to meet up with Facebook.
The social media powerhouse is making a VR drive parallel to Oculus and it is based mainly around video. Not too long ago, Facebook released software for a 360 degree VR camera just like Google did. Thus in the industry both companies are using virtual reality to drive towards their end goal. These digital interfacers that interact with the physical environments will perhaps ditch screens altogether. So the major differences between the two companies begin to fade away.