Google announced this week that they would be giving Google Maps virtual reality support, allowing those who use the inexpensive Google Cardboard headset the ability to walk the streets of any city street that is accessible through Google Maps Street View.
Street View allows those using Google Maps to view many places on the map at street level, and get an experience that can’t be had through traditional satellite mapping programs. While Google Cardboard costs just $10, it has completely revolutionized the way people receive virtual reality. It takes the virtual reality headsets that cost hundreds, and uses cheap products to create a headset that can be used by virtually anyone.
Google Cardboard was created through Google’s 20 percent program which allows employees to work on various projects that are work-related, but ultimately are not generated by Google themselves. It’s a practice that a lot of companies have done to harbor creativity and to promote change in the work environment. It also has been used to promote a happier workforce.
Google Cardboard though uses a cardboard shell, two 40mm focal distance lenses, magnets, Velcro and a rubber band. While it may seem simplistic, it ultimately hinges on the distance between the smartphone inside the headset and the two lenses. This is what creates the 3D effect.
Google has expanded the number of apps that would be available on the Play Store, and have even began opening up the way developers could create apps for their virtual reality platform, as well as the instructions and dimensions for those who want to create their own virtual reality headset without buying Google Cardboard.
While over 500,000 Google Cardboard headsets have been sold since the launch earlier in the year, the Google Maps Street View virtual reality support is something that will definitely help the company continue to push this product – as it is an important productivity app that can drive those looking to get one of the most essential and basic virtual reality experiences possible.
It functions simply by opening up Street View and double-tapping the “look around” button that sits in the lower-right hand portion of the screen. It gives users the ability to look around and experience the location they’ve chosen in the same way they would if the user were actually in that location.