I’m joined on the podcast today by Road to VR Executive Editor Ben Lang and Moor Insights Analyst Anshel Sag for a 45-minute roundtable discussion about Google and what they’re doing in VR. We cover everything including Google Cardboard, Jump cameras, the Expeditions educational program, WebVR, Project Tango, Google Glass, Magic Leap, Tilt Brush, voice recognition, machine learning, the Android ecosystem & their complicated relationship with Oculus & Samsung, and predictions about what type of VR or AR HMD that they may be manufacturing.

It’s clear that Google has some significant in the virtual reality space, and we discuss everything that we know about what they’re currently doing and make some predictions as to where we think we’re going in the future.


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  • JoeD

    Has some significant what?

  • Mateusz

    Interesting talk. No Tiltbrush viewer for neither Rift nor Gear might be a big problem in the future.

  • kalqlate

    One thing to keep clearly in mind: Google is not going to manufacture and sell anything themselves. This helps them avoid patent and licensing concerns with Apple, who holds phone and stand-alone VR and AR patents and is just waiting to pounce at the most optimum time. It is what also creates opportunity for Google partners… if those partners don’t mind facing the same legal issues.

    Yes, a next step in the evolution of phone-based Cardboard is an obvious product for players in the Android space. However, I think in ADDITION, Google may present a design and specs for a device that advances VR and which could be an attractive new product for phone manufacturers: An HMD driven wired or wirelessly by phone and maybe even PC. So, two VR devices:

    1) An advanced Cardboard, which requires insertion of a phone with at least medium next-gen specs.

    2) An HMD similar to LG 360 VR (http://www.roadtovr.com/good-bad-meh-lg-360-vr) but with high-quality displays, optics, and head-tracking, maybe even eye, hand, and possibly environment mapping, all driven wired or wirelessly by a next-gen phone or possibly a PC. Yes, seems like quite a technical challenge, but the technology to do such a device has arrived.

    The advantages of (2) would be,

    – a) the phone and HMD displays are independent. The phone could use cheaper 1080p displays and cheaper sensors without concern of latency or accuracy, while the HMD could employ low-latency 2K and 4K displays and high-accuracy sensors. The phones would just have to have increased computing capacity, and newer CPUs and GPUs provide that.

    – b) offloading most if not all of the processing from the HMD would still allow manufacturers to participate on just the phone side and tout compatibility with “Google VR” HMD. It would also allow them, if they choose, to add a new “Google VR” HMD to their product offerings.

    – c) The cost of compatible phones would be based mainly on phone features, not suitability for VR; therefore, phone prices would be phone prices–not inflated phone+VR prices–and consumers could then shop for a compatible “Google VR” HMD when and as they desire.

    – d) All phones would still be compatible with the old and advanced Cardboard HMDs.

    – e) Also remember that Google and Android are not just concerns in the phone space; they are also concerned with the television space. Presenting this type 2 VR HMD would allow television manufactures to play in the VR space as well.