All About Google Virtual Reality and Content
Google is set to reveal its agenda for its virtual reality content at the Google IO manufacturer’s conference scheduled to be held this week at Mountain View, California. Based on some insider information and some select comments of some senior managers of the company, there was an impression that it is about to distance itself from the inexpensive Cardboard VR viewer. However, there is some apprehension about the possible new VR hardware, and it ignores an important element that was part of Google’s original scheme for virtual reality: content.
Google Virtual Reality and Content
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From Google Cardboard to Google VR
Google publicly launched its Cardboard VR viewer at its IO manufacturer conference in 2014. The viewer, which was made out of cardboard and featured a set of plastic lenses, seemed makeshift, which made people think it was a joke. However, Google confirmed that it has serious plans for the new medium.
The company immediately made an arrangement with the New York Times for the widespread distribution of Cardboard viewers. Since then, it has set in place a devoted Google virtual reality team led by expert managers. However, those same managers have revealed a long time ago some strategies that would go beyond the area focused on by Cardboard. Additionally, a series of recent revelations implied that there is a chance to finally discover this week what has been in the making.
Just as recently as a few days ago, a placeholder for a certain “Android VR” popped up on the Google Play developer console. The latter is said to be a managerial backend for publishers, and it enables to them make crucial decisions about which platforms and devices to release access to with regard to their apps.
Some insiders in the industry believe that the Android VR will be a unique device—a standalone headset that one would be able to use without a smartphone. It’s also quite possible that it stands for a new kind of device, which could consist of both Gear VR-like mixtures of VR-optimized headsets and phones and standalone headsets.
But there is another angle to Google’s VR strategies, one that has not been discussed much, even though it is just as significant. The company itself has exerted a lot of effort, for instance, in transforming YouTube into a virtual reality platform. At present, YouTube does not only have a 360-degree feature and content; its mobile app is also adaptable to the Cardboard viewer, giving its users the chance to switch between regular viewing and virtual reality with just the click of a button. YouTube recently added this feature to its iOS app just this week.
Google has also been involved in a cloud-based editing and processing platform that allows publishers to upload raw content from more than one camera at a time and enables them to merge the different content into one virtual reality video on Google’s servers. The platform is called JUMP, and it was conceptualized and developed with Google’s own JUMP VR camera rig. With that said, there seems to be no reason why Google would not allow it to exist on other camera systems as well. By default, JUMP immediately uploads content to YouTube without any kind of human intervention, which ensures that the streaming service consistently receives fresh content on a stable platform.
Highlight Stories and VR Stories
Finally, YouTube has also started experimenting with some of the equipment needed to host virtual reality content and transformed its content into more than just the usual 360-degree videos commonly seen nowadays. Just recently, the site began hosting its own Highlight Stories, which enable its users to make the most of 360-degree mobile storytelling without having to leave the YouTube platform itself.