Google Announces Exciting New VR Initiatives
Virtual reality is ideal for gaming and watching movies, but when it comes down to real world uses there are still quite a bit of spaces available for VR to grow itself into a media that we can eventually rely on.
Google is attempting to jump start this process by making 360 VR content a little bit easier to implement, and while doing that, making it way more adventurous for consumers to discover and watch.
Earlier, the company announced a new initiative, VR View, an implement which lets developers to easily embed 360 photo and video content into websites and applications to be later viewed on Cardboard or through a single lens “Magic Window” viewer. To make this even easier to access for developers, today Google is also bringing in iOS support to their Cardboard SDK.
“VR is great for entertainment purposes,” Google Product Manager Nathan Martz told me in an interview. “But for VR to be as transformative as we all hope it will be, it has to be useful as well.”
A major obstacle for the utility of VR in that regard is the stages of premeditation that has to take place on the user’s part before they begin using certain content. Generally, not only is a person going out of their way to have a VR headset on-hand but they also are visiting a dedicated VR app, not to mention the need for such a high powered computer which very few people already have on hand. Overall, there’s isn’t enough room for discovery in the process.
This exact problem helped lead Google Product Manager Nathan Martz to think, “What if we could make it really easy for [businesses] to add VR experiences into their sites and apps?”
“A lot of these businesses, they’re very focused on their core businesses and don’t have VR R&D teams ready to go and the thought of building a VR app from the ground-up is a giant investment,” Martz said. “A lot of what the VR View project is about is in trying to close the gap for those companies.”
By creating simpler open ended tools, Google is helping to make it as simple for developers as possible by adding more lines of code to put VR content directly into their site. This could eventually work out great for companies such as real estate, looking to show off properties, or clothing business to easily give you a view of the hottest trends off the runway.
The next initiative, but probably more meaningful news, is that Google is finally bringing its Cardboard SDK to iOS, that’s right google seems to be doing something in cooperation with Apple, for once!
“We really feel like the core vision of Cardboard is ‘VR for everyone,’” Martz told me. “And it turns out that a lot of phones in a lot of pockets are iOS phones.”
Martz laid out the details in a post from a blog that the SDK would have all of the same functionality of the Android Cardboard SDK.
“We’ve had iOS support in Unity, we’ve made sure that our Cardboard holders work well with iPhones, so really this is a very natural progression for us,” Martz said. “If you were a Unity developer you could target iOS and Android, but if you were a native app developer it was more difficult, and so we’re now closing that gap.”
The majority of this decision by Martz had to do with servicing the needs of native app developers.