Google has made some of the biggest contributions to virtual reality (VR) tech over the past two years. Back in 2014 the search engine giant introduced a unique DIY mobile-based head-mounted display (HMD) named Google Cardboard, which was comprised of mostly household materials. It offers a low end VR experience, but some brands and developers have embraced the platform as a way to advertise products and offer some accessible VR videogames. This week, Google is announcing its very own VR division, dedicated to pushing the tech forwards.
Recode is reporting that Clay Bavour, VP for Product Management at Google has been moved over to run the new group. Bavour previously worked on the Google Cardboard project itself along with several other apps and services. According to his Twitter profile page he’s not VP of Virtual Reality at the company. It’s not yet clear exactly what this new division will be working on, though we’re yet to hear more from some VR initiatives the company announced at its last I/O developer conference in 2015 such as Google Jump, which is looking to progress work in 360 degree video.
Over the past year Google has introduced several new apps and features that show its commitment to Google Cardboard. The YouTube Android app, for example, will now let any 360 degree video be viewed through the HMD, while Google Street View also supports the kit. An updated version of Google Cardboard that accommodates larger smartphones was also revealed at I/O, and the company has since announced a brand new ‘Works with Google Cardboard’ label in which third party mobile-based devices will be recognised as supporting any Cardboard compatible apps.
For the latest on Google’s work in VR, stayed tuned to VRFocus.