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The next steps Google is taking in virtual and augmented reality

Google’s I/O annual developer conference in Mountain View was the perfect setting for the ICT giant to announce the news, from AI to VR, and everything in between. And one of the most interesting areas are virtual and augmented reality.

As more Daydream-ready phones are coming soon, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, LG’s next flagship phone, and devices from Motorola and ASUS, Google announced that there are over 150 applications available for Daydream – its VR platform built into the Android operating system starting with the release of Android 7.1 Nougat.

According to Google, until now, more than 2 million students have gone on virtual reality Expeditions using Google Cardboard, with more than 600 tours available.


The ITC giant announced it’s expanding Daydream to support standalone VR headsets, which don’t require a phone or PC. For this, HTC VIVE and Lenovo are both working on devices, based on a Qualcomm reference design. Also, Google says standalone Daydream headsets will include WorldSense, a new technology based on Tango which enables the headset to track users’ precise movements in space, without any extra sensors.

The next smartphone with Tango technology will be the ASUS ZenFone AR, available this summer.

The AR team worked with the Google Maps team to create a new Visual Positioning Service (VPS) for developers, which helps devices quickly and accurately understand their location indoors.

Google also announced its bringing AR to the classroom with Expeditions AR, launching with a Pioneer Program this fall.

During the conference, Google also previewed Euphrates, the latest release of Daydream, which will let users capture what they’re seeing and cast their virtual world right onto the screen in their living room, coming later this year.

A new Google tool for VR developers, Instant Preview, lets them make changes on a computer and see them reflected on a headset in seconds, not minutes.

A new technology presented at the Google I/O is Seurat – it makes it possible to render high-fidelity scenes on mobile VR headsets in real time.


Last but not least, Google announced its releasing an experimental build of Chromium with an augmented reality API, to help bring AR to the web.

John Beckett