Google has made a strong impact on the virtual reality market with its affordable Google Cardboard viewer, which sells for $15. In some cases, you can get them for free. However, with the launch of Daydream in the fall and the Tango augmented reality device, the company is ready to take bigger strides with virtual and augmented technology.
The company detailed on its blog how VR technology will be utilized greatly not only for creators and storytellers, but also advertisers. Google noted that global search interest for virtual reality has increased nearly four times within the last year, gaining larger interest in the general market. Of course, a majority of that is consumers looking to get more out of the technology, whether it’s with games, apps or other immersive programs.
“The promise of VR is what the industry calls ‘presence’—the feeling that you’re really somewhere else,” wrote Aaron Luber, head of partnerships for VR at Google and author of the blog post. This “presence” can help immerse users into a new technology, whether they utilize the cheaper Cardboard model, or wait to see what the company has to offer when Daydream launches this fall.
“At Google, Cardboard was our first step toward this future. Soon, our VR platform Daydream will enable even more powerful, mobile, high-quality experiences with a headset that’s comfortable at an accessible price.” Luber also mentioned the company’s promise to create more powerful apps with this tech in mind, including Google Play, Maps and YouTube.
Google is heavily promoting the use of 360-degree video on YouTube, which is utilized not only for viewing on desktops and laptops, but also with virtual reality headsets. Immersive experiences like the School of Rock video have helped push a diverse way to view content through a number of devices.
Of course, nothing promotes VR and AR quite like games, so Google has announced its first Indie Games Festival, which will take place on September 24 in San Francisco. With it, the company hopes to attract hundreds of submissions from Android developers that hope to reaching consumers through Google’s devoted channels, including Amazing Indie Games and New Indie Highlights. In addition to traditional mobile games, developers may be excited to show off what they can do with technologies such as the Tango device and Daydream.
Google has already reached out to these talents before on its devoted Developers page, but the Festival will provide them the ability to showcase new games at a public event, which could mean good news not only for promoting the new Android N platform, but also generating bigger buzz in both Tango hardware and Daydream.
Luber concluded the blog entry by addressing common concerns about virtual reality, such as what kind of experience it will provide. It will bee able to “transport people to a place, immerse them in a world and compel them to explore.” As to providing a better feel for the consumers, VR will allow them to see “items in real size and form when shopping online.” Lastly, when providing something beyond a “that’s cool” sort of moments, Luber suggests a “compelling hook” to keep users engaged.