When people first saw Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Cardboard project, some rightly thought it was a cheeky jab at virtual reality. After all, firms like Oculus have spent a lot of money and effort on developing virtual reality for goggles that look straight out of sci-fi movies while the internet search and advertising giant’s Cardboard is, well, made out of cardboard.
However, the joke may be on pundits as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is showing that it was serious about virtual reality for the masses through Cardboard, a device a user puts their smartphone in and wears.
What may have started as a joke, maybe partly as a dig at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) which announced its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus three months before the Google I/O conference in June when the Cardboard project was announced, is now getting more support from the web giant.
In a post on the Google Developer’s Blog, the company announced Cardboard SDKs for Android and Unity. Releasing SDKs, or software development kits, is a big investment for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) as it means more resources being put into supporting the development of software for a certain product such as Cardboard.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) also announced tool-specific specs and custom viewer calibration for Cardboard. This means that Google is actually helping other firms and individual DIY-ers make Cardboard viewers exactly as they are intended to be made, even with different materials or cutting and manufacturing tools.
The firm also announced that there is more content available for Cardboard and that there are more applications coming to this virtual reality project. Apps like games and experiences like concerts are coming to your smartphone via Cardboard, the company promises.
It makes sense, however, as this could actually boost demand for Google’s Android operating system, even if just a little on the onset. Furthermore, more commerce on the Play Store is always good for the Internet giant.
It should be worth noting, however, that one cannot replicate via a smartphone the more immersive VR experiences dedicated devices like the Oculus Rift provide. Nonetheless, maybe Cardboard is the best place to start and could inspire VR becoming mainstream.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) shareholders includes Boykin Curry’s Eagle Capital Management which reported owning 790,560 Class A shares in the company by the end of September.