Last week, at the annual Google Inc. (NASDAQ/GOOG) I/O developer’s conference, the company announced its continued endeavor in the virtual reality (VR) business: a virtual reality system using 16 GoPro, Inc. (NASDAQ/GPRO) cameras. Google also announced its launch of an iOS app that makes Google’s “Cardboard” available to “iPhone” users. (Source: Google, May 29, 2015.)
Cardboard: VR Headset Made of Cardboard
Last year, Google introduced Cardboard, a virtual reality headset. The device is made from $25.00 worth of parts, including plastic lenses, rubber bands, magnets, and cardboard. Users can mount their mobile phones to the budget-friendly device and get a virtual reality experience.
At this year’s conference, Google introduced a new Google Cardboard app for iOS. This means users of Apple’s iPhones can mount their phones to Cardboard and enjoy the virtual reality experience as well.
Capturing VR with GoPro Cameras
In addition to the consumption side of virtual reality, Google is also launching a device for VR film creators. Its partnership with GoPro brings a special rig that supports 16 “GoPro HERO4” cameras. This 16-camera rig can capture 360-degree videos.
Google is currently developing a software system that can turn these videos into virtual reality experiences. Eventually, the company plans to bring 360-degree videos to its popular “YouTube” platform.
These are all part of Google’s “Jump” project—an entire ecosystem for creating virtual reality videos.
It remains to be seen how Google’s new project will turn out. In January of this year, the company announced that it would stop selling the “Google Glass,” a wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display, until it is redesigned.
Google is not the first one to step into the virtual reality business. In March 2014, Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ/FB) announced its $2.0-billion purchase of Oculus, a maker of virtual reality headsets. Also, early last year, Sony Corporation (NYSE/SNE) announced its move into virtual reality with Project Morpheus.