AH Google IO 2014 Cardboard (3 of 4)

Google Cardboard and Maps Let You Virtua-Tour the Earth

December 19, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

Well, seeing as the winter season is always full of traveling and those that don’t travel for various reasons, it’s about time for a trip right?  Apparently, Google would agree with us on that one.  So, if you have an Android device and Google’s Cardboard headset-like apparatus, you too can travel and sightsee this holiday season. You’ll need Google Maps too, by the way.

That’s the spoiler though, isn’t it?  You’ll be given the chance to look through Cardboard at some of Google Maps’s best photos of the world’s most wondrous and expensive-to-visit places.  You’ll need to do three things, really.  You’ll go into Google Maps (always have the most up to date if you can help it, since this tutorial bit requires a bit of an easter egg) and select a destination for viewing.  Let’s pick the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, looking up at the great tower itself.  Sound like somewhere that you want to visit?  If not, go ahead and choose your own obviously.

Next, click the streetview option, so you have the ability to see a true-360 degrees sphere of photos great and terrible of the surrounding area.  Next, and here’s the new easter egg and where Cardboard comes in: tap the little oval that lets you pan around with your fingers usually.

Now, this is where that easter egg and Cardboard actually come in.  Once you double tap the oval with the arrows chasing each other, your screen will split to a degree that resembles the look of a Cardboard-ready app with the same picture slightly skewed for each eye to make focusing on non-singular objects easier and the 3-D effect better and authentic.

Now, I can’t personally vouch for the feature, though that could change in the coming days.  But from what it looks like, the 3-D skewing looks to be rather good. Now, the only thing is that you’ll ideally need the latest Google Maps and Cardboard apps, as well as a device capable of fitting into Cardboard or at being a reasonable without any usability being taken away from the experience.  If you’ve got Cardboard, take it for a spin and let us know what you think about it.  What kind of applications (not the programs,) do you think could best use this feature, and more importantly, why?  Let us know down below.