Technology is ever-changing and fickle. This nature can be best described by the demise of 3D TVs just a while after its adoption. A new medium has been the subject of interest, for quite a while: Virtual Reality, or VR as it is popularly called. And one of its biggest influencers is the Internet and search giant, Google. Google is confident about the impact Virtual Reality will have on how people experience video, and ever since the launch of Cardboard in Google I/O developer conference in 2014, Google has had high expectations about VR.
Now, Google is bringing VR to the center stage of the Cannes Lion advertising festival. And Google is proud of the fact that YouTube has more VR content than any other platform by a large margin. YouTube has also started educating some of their biggest content-creators about how to use VR as a way of creating new content, as well as providing them with new VR equipment. But as Google’s vice president of virtual reality, Clay Bavor notes, less than 1% of the world’s population knows about VR, let alone experiences it, despite Google’s attempt of popularizing the technology by distributing more than 5 million Cardboard viewers. Even though there is an increasing interest in VR, it will be an uphill task to make the medium mainstream among people. And mobiles will be key to popularizing VR among the masses, as Mr. Bavor puts it.
Virtual reality is an immersive experience that enables the user watch images as if they were real and around the user, using a customized headset. Anything, from the International Space Station to a scary house can be simulated using virtual reality, making the dream of traveling places without being there come true. More and more companies are resorting to VR as a medium for advertisements, including BMW, Oreo, Hyundai and McDonald’s, owing to the immense potential of VR as an immersive platform and Google spearheading it with their massive resources and users.
Google used the Cannes Lion advertising festival to release the ranking and data about YouTube’s VR ads, all of which can be experienced with or without a headset. All the ads have gathered more than 20 million views. Google also unveiled Daydream, a new platform exclusively for VR built into Android devices. This, Google believes, will give VR the jumpstart it needs to be accessible to the public. Other companies like HTC and Facebook have also shown considerable interest in VR, with the Oculus Rift, and HTV Vive. In Cannes, Google is showcasing Tiltbrush, a novel approach to VR that lets users interact with the space around them and draw, making it a new experience for a lot of people. Instead of using Cardboard, Google has chosen to go for an HTC headset tethered to a customized computer to showcase the abilities of virtual reality.