Google I/O 2017: Google has new plans for VR and AR, including standalone headsets

We heard a bunch of interesting announcements in the keynote speech of this year Google I/O.  Google spoke about its progress in the virtual reality space and talked about its plans to bring in a standalone headset this year.

This headset will not be hooked to a smartphone or a PC but will run independently offering realistic graphics and movement tracking. While the future of VR is said to be one where the PC acts as the rendering engine, communicating data through wireless connectivity, Google’s approach eliminates that. It has partnered with HTC and Lenovo as well as chip maker Qualcomm to launch these headsets later this year.

According to Google, the new headset will feature positional tracking, which will help users to move and look around the virtual world similar to room scale PC-based VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. Google didn't exactly mention how the headset will actually work, but we are assuming it could be similar to Microsoft's Holo lens, which is not dependent on external sensors for positioning.

According to Clay Bavor, Google’s head of VR, “The whole device is designed just for VR. Getting into VR is as easy as picking the thing up. By building every part of the device specifically for VR, we’ve been able to optimise everything . . . to give a stronger sense of being transported.”

Now augmented reality is heavily dependent on mobile and Google announced a new technology called Visual Positioning Service. VPS is a new mapping technology, but made for indoors. Just like GPS, which uses satellites to position and help in navigation, VPS uses a group of visual points, like walls, end of an aisle and objects, to position the user inside a building. VPS will basically let you navigate around indoor spaces like a mall, a grocery store or a museum by using the phone’s camera to understand your exact location.

Google hasn't yet confirmed when VPS will actually roll out. Also, there's no clarity whether Google will have to gather mapping data inside stores and other places.

Published Date: May 18, 2017 12:28 pm | Updated Date: May 18, 2017 12:28 pm