Google is bullish on virtual reality, as the developing technology is in the spotlight during the company’s busy beachfront pavilion at the Cannes Lions advertising festival this week. In addition, the tech giant is emphasizing that it believes that no platform has greater virtual reality content than YouTube.
It is unclear how many people know what virtual reality is, and that it is available on YouTube or that Google creates a product named Google Cardboard that allows users to watch virtual reality videos using their mobile phones.
“The people who have used or even know about VR at this point is a rounding error,” explained Clay Bavor, Google’s vice president of virtual reality. “It’s approximately zero percent of the world.”
According to Bavor, he often has to remind his team that outside of Google and the media industry, virtual reality is very much uncommon.
Virtual reality is currently in an early phase of its evolution, however, Google officials argue that wider access on smartphones could support mass adoption. The technology enables a person wearing a modified device over their eyes to see images that appear real.
Various media companies and advertisers are analyzing how they can benefit from the more realistic video experience.
Marketers such as BMW, which is creating ad content in virtual where a user can put on a Google Cardboard device in order to see and feel what it is like to race with other cars on an open field, in an attempt to get an advantage on consumer adoption.
During an event at Cannes on Wednesday, the tech giant introduces its first ranking of YouTube’s 360 ads, which together have generated 20 million views on YouTube. The ads can be viewed with or without a virtual reality headset.
BMW led the list, which also includes McDonald’s, Oreo and Hyundai. Meanwhile, Google has already delivered 5 million units of the Google Cardboard device.
On the other hand, major manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC are moving towards the emerging market, as well as Facebook with its Oculus headset.
Google’s Daydream Project
This fall, Google believes that with the release of Daydream, a new software platform outlined for virtual reality that will be fabricated into Android devices.
Daydream is a fully enabled virtual reality headset that will fit perfectly into the Android operating system. This is an extremely significant feature that seems to be missing in other virtual reality offerings, as other virtual reality products are standalone. Daydream would be connected to a user’s smartphone, tablet, and laptop browser.
Google will work with other hardware developers to build challenging headsets. Google is likely to have a great success in virtual reality, which can drive the GOOG stock upward.
The new set of Daydream-enabled phones will be shown off in several wireless retail locations this fall. “That will make it accessible,” said Aaron Luber, head of Google’s virtual reality affiliates. Introduced partners already include Samsung and HTC.
Bavor stated that he enjoys seeing people experience virtual reality for the first time. “For people who have never tried it before, it’s kind of a profound, oh-my-god experience.”
“We predict that as much energy and talk and hype there is around VR right now, it’s going to be a slower ramp than people appreciate,” he added. “Riding the wave of smartphones is how we’ll get mass adoption.”