How would you like to travel the entire world, with your own eyes, using only your smartphone? Google Map‘s Street View mode gives us a glimpse of this concept, but it doesn’t really take us there. It does not give the sensation or the experience that we are actually in these locations.
That, my friends, is now the responsibility of Cardboard—you know, that nifty little DIY gadget that Google has been tinkering with for quite some time now. Google made a rather exciting announcement last month that their revolutionary DIY VR project will now support Google’s Street View. The revelation aroused mixed feelings among the tech crowd, but looking at Cardboard as it is, most of us have probably already seen it coming.
The Google Cardboard, as weird as it may seem to be, has proven to us that with just a little tweaking and some DIY folding, anyone can get a taste of the VR experience with his or her own Android smartphone. The existence of Cardboard pre-dated the announcement of various other upcoming VR machines, such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Sony’s Morpheus, and at the time, it was the (only) cheapest option available for people to experience modern VR. Its existence also pre-dated some of the later VR gimmicks that Google would eventually announce, such as Youtube 360, so it was indeed very revolutionary for that brief period of conceptual monopoly (of a certain VR device).
As of today, though, the Google Cardboard is now supported in over 100 countries, with availability in over 40 different languages. With 15 million users of Cardboard around the globe, it is definitely not hard to see that it would eventually seep into Google’s other visually related features and options, most of which can potentially make use of its VR capabilities. In fact, the reaction to the announcement might actually be more like, “Oh, they are finally doing it,” rather than, “Oh, so they can do it?”
To use Cardboard for Street View, open Google Map’s Street View mode first with the smartphone oriented horizontally. Then, double-tap the icon at the lower right of the location that you have chosen, and it will switch into stereoscopic mode. Now, all you need to do is insert the smartphone properly inside the Cardboard and—voila!—3D VR viewing is available on any Street View-able location around the globe.
Needless to say, it doesn’t take you to the area live. (That’s at least a few more sci-fi decades away.) Navigating through it as if one is walking on a 3D landscape is also not possible, but there is at least the option to move a step forward using the action button of your Cardboard unit. Additionally, there is a nifty option that allows users to take 360-degree photos of the area they visited with Street View, allowing for some great custom panoramic photos that can be very different for each user.
If you have a Cardboard and haven’t tried it yet, go and try it right now! Trust us, as simple as it may seem to be, it is a breathtaking experience that you might soon get addicted to.
Check out this video to get an idea of what it actually looks like.