Hold on to your hats, folks. Google just took us into the future with their new Google Cardboard initiative, and the response has been astounding. You can?t really blame people, though, since virtual reality augmentation?Google?s calling it VR for the giggles?is the first real step towards integrating the digital and real worlds in a way that the worth-mentioning but silly Google Glass epically failed.
Over 25 Million (to be) Served
Just this week, Google shipped out approximately five million units of its physical Google Cardboard tools. This is something else, considering that they?re just basically cardboard cutout glasses meant to fit your Android-powered smartphone?which really goes to show that you can sell just about anything, if you can create the market.
But this market?s more than just a demographic willing to shell out the green for hipster cardboard glasses. In conjunction with the shipment of physical units, the Google Play store has listed twenty-five million downloads of VR-compatible applications that can be used with Google Cardboard. This legitimizes the sheer enormity of the Cardboard?s sales figure, although there?s a curious disparity between the hardware shipped and software downloaded.
One can only assume that there are at least twenty million people making their own cardboard glasses.
One Magic Leap
But that?s just the tip of the iceberg. While all this brouhaha over Cardboard and VR has been going on, Google has silently been planning their next moves in the realm of virtual reality telephony (can you even call it that these days?)
Back in 2014, Google ??led a $542 million investment?? in Florida tech startup Magic Leap. This virtually unknown company turns out to be blazing a trail into VR territory, as can be evidenced by this video.
With this week?s news about the buyer turnout for Google Cardboard, it?s starting to look like this was a good investment. Both companies remain tight-lipped about their future projects, although it doesn?t look like Magic Leap is about to run out of funding, thanks to Internet sales machine Alibaba shoving $1 billion more into their direction last October 2015, so it?s a safe bet that this company will be shaping the future of VR technology in the years to come.
But that?s not all Google?s been doing. The search giant?s been doing a little bit of recruitment under the radar, and most analysts think that the positions they?re sourcing are key components that can help them begin manufacturing their own VR hardware.
Smart move, Google. After all, it?s kind of hard to be taken seriously as a player in virtual reality when the best piece of hardware you?ve got to offer is a phone and a set of goggles cut out from cardboard.