Google is looking to develop other platforms for using VR, with its announcement of bringing VR to Google Earth.
Developing More Platforms
Google has recently launched a major VR effort for users with the Daydream. However, the company is not planning to leave it at that, as it is slowly development many other platforms for using VR. Today, the company has made an announcement in its blog that VR is being brought to Google Earth, through the HTC Vive. Using the Earth VR, users can fly above the city or stand on the highest peak and even fly into space, according to the post.
A Big Avenue
The launch offers Google a big avenue for highlighting experiences that are optimized for virtual reality, such as a 3D flyover using a planet-sized interface. There are experiences that the consumer can use for accessing the Amazon River or the Manhattan skyline or other experiences like the Alps or the Grand Canyon.
The VR project has plenty of scope for Google, but this is not the first time that the company has created VR for the desktop. Even earlier on, the Tilt Brush was a hit among VR enthusiasts, as it offered a creative experience. The app has also been refined several times with updates.
The Earth VR app will initially be available for the HTC Vive in Steam store, being a free application. Users can explore a global landmark or even their houses using virtual reality. The VR app for Google Earth has been in the developmental stage for quite some time now. The concept is similar to the Street View version released by Google in Daydream and for the Cardboard platforms.
Street View and Earth VR
However, Earth VR is slightly different from Street View. Street View only offers a string of photos that have been collected by full circle cameras. With the help of Earth VR, users can fly virtually or take a guided tour around Manhattan or the Monument Valley, for example.
Only for HTC Vive
Currently, the new Earth VR app is only available for Vive, but according to Mike Podwal, the Product manager of VR App, Google is looking to offer support in case of other platforms as well. This is the second Vive application released by Google, the first being the Tilt Brush.
Blending with Street View
The Earth VR application has a tie in with other efforts made by Google. According to Podwal and DominikKaeser, the lead engineer, the project complements Street View, but the controls may not work on platforms like Daydream. It is possible that at a future time, it could blend with other platforms seamlessly. For instance, Earth VR can fit with Expeditions, a VR education app that is based on Cardboard.
There are more exciting possibilities available with an open version of Google Earth app. Users can embed stories into Google Earth or link a photo to a specific place. Business places can offer their VR version and so on. The possibilities are many.