Google Cardboard is the newest innovation in virtual reality. We decided to try it out for ourselves, and before we knew it, we were standing in front of the Eiffel Tower and then in the streets of Tokyo! All without leaving our New York City office.
What you should know about Google Cardboard
The most recent version of Google Cardboard was introduced in May 2015 at the Google I/O conference and is compatible with most smartphones including iPhone and Android. As of May 29th, 2015 there have been 1–5 million downloads of the app.
Google doesn’t actually make the cardboard viewer product. They give you instructions on how to make it, and you can buy the different parts. You can also buy the cardboard viewer from other vendors such as Amazon for $25.00 or from Google Cardboard’s website for $19.95. The idea is that it is easily accessible for everyone.
Google has put out a virtual reality app that you can use with the cardboard viewer called the Google Cardboard app. Within the app there are four options: Explorer, Exhibit, Urban Hike, and Kaleidoscope. Explorer takes you to different museums. Exhibit allows to view different objects in virtual reality 3D. Urban Hike allows you to explore different cities around the world. Finally, Kaleidoscope is an amped up, 3D version of the traditional kaleidoscope.
There are other virtual reality apps that can be used with the Cardboard. Google has put out Cardboard SDK, which allows programmers to create their own Cardboard compatible VR apps.
Google Cardboard has connected with two other products. The first is Jump, a Google designed virtual reality camera, which is actually made up of 16 GoPro cameras. The second is Tango VR, a Google product in the making. It is the technology that allows a tablet or smart phone to accurately locate the user without GPS or Wi-Fi for this virtual experience.
Benefits for brands
- Brands can develop their own apps that are compatible with Google Cardboard. These apps would be an alternative to the traditional IOS and Android apps.
- Virtual reality is an expanding market. K Zero stated that the VR market could reach $7 billion by 2018. Brands can use Google Cardboard to become a part of the VR market and the cutting edge. For example, Merrell set up a virtual reality booth at the Sundance movie festival to allow people to virtually hike up a mountain. The movie Interstellar created a VR app to engage potential movie goers. British Columbia also set up a VR experience to promote tourism.
- Google Cardboard is allowing more people to access virtual reality and it is an alternative way for brands to expand and increase their reach or targeted audience.
- Google Cardboard allows users to understand brands’ products and allows brands to understand their users. Several other car companies such as Ford and Audi have used VR to allow users to virtually experience driving their cars and to give feedback on their driving experiences.
- Google Cardboard give brands the chance to capture complete attention, a rarity in today’s world of multi-tasking and constant distractions, such as competing advertising and instant communication. For example, car shopping is difficult, because it is time consuming. Volvo uses the Cardboard for their customers to virtually get inside the vehicles they’re looking at.
Only time will tell the full extent of the impact of virtual reality, but for now Google Cardboard is a major milestone for the VR industry, and an exciting possibility for brands and marketers alike. Here’s to looking towards the future.