Around the World in 80. . .Minutes, or Less! Google Wows Us Yet Again With Its New Offering, The “Google Earth VR”
They didn’t even know it, but they were onto something big. And by big, I mean, something expansive as the world itself. And oh yeah, something that would also bring home the bacon.
Starting out as a small project, (as all huge endeavors start out to be) Google Earth VR boasts of over hundreds of countries around the world with over 600 urban cores, covering 94% of the Earth’s population and an impressive 54% of its land mass.
The Google Earth VR app runs on HTC Vive VR Headset complete with amazing visuals of full 3D data. With a simple click of the Vive controller one can easily be transported from one country to another while flying through the incredibly varying landscapes.
The user begins exploration in space with the able manipulation of the Vive’s controller. The primary mode that the user utilizes for navigating through different locations is flight. In a reported statement from its developers, they have decided on making flight as its method of exploring as they found it to be most conducive. They deemed that the standard locomotion systems of teleportation or walking through joystick would not work. To them, flying is the only way that a user would be able to fully experience all facets of the visual data contained in the VR application.
A comfort mode can be activated in the beginning. Here, a user’s Field of View (FOV) is narrowed so as to minimize apparent sickness from the flying simulation. If one feels this to be inhibiting, then he or she can disable the comfort mode through the options menu.
Google’s Geo team, the same team behind Google Maps and Google Earth, had began work on the Google Earth VR project 4 years ago through the company’s “20% Project”, an ingenious idea that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin come up back in 2004. Here, Google employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their working time on a separate project that they think could enrich the company further.
Successful Google products such as the Google News, Gmail, and AdSense all stemmed from the “20% Project”.
Google Earth VR is indeed a true innovation for both Google and the fast-growing VR industry. We are all looking forward to its further development.
For more details on Google Earth VR, you may visit their website through: https://vr.google.com/earth/