Google has made it quite clear that their focus on VR will be increasing and their physical products of that nature will be expanding far beyond their well-known Cardboard headset. On the software side, Google’s expansion of VR has manifested as tours of faraway and beautiful places, class materials, closer looks at masterful and iconic art, and even tours of their own data centers in a 360-degree format, showing outsiders how well Google runs their show in all-telling VR. VP of Product and head of VR for Google, Clay Bavor, sat down with Popular Science to discuss Google’s future in the space and the lessons they’ve learned and are learning that will get them there.
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One of the topics that Bavor touched on was what Cardboard got right and how Google could apply those aspects to future projects in the VR space. Among the best aspects of Cardboard, he named mobility, comfort, approachability and low cost. While it may not be possible to produce a unit quite as cheap as Cardboard with any enhanced capabilities, Bavor did mention that Google’s next try at a VR device will take cues from Cardboard by being very comfortable and as cheap as possible. He also said that it would be an untethered experience, not needing a smartphone or a PC in order to function; instead, it would have its own processing center and screen, allowing a more cohesive experience and greater portability. He also said that Google wants to “enable an entire ecosystem to explore” in the future with regards to VR, as they did with Android.
Google was also asked about their investment in augmented reality firm Magic Leap and if it was anything to read into. While Bavor did not discount the possibility of Google working on AR at some point, he made it clear that the current focus was on VR and that, for now, Google’s relationship with the mysterious startup was strictly as a benefactor. After painting a very interesting picture of the future of Google’s ventures and the world of virtual reality in general, Bavor capped off the interview by saying that he wants to make “VR accessible, affordable and compelling for everyone.”