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Google brings VR to YouTube with Jump

Seth Barton
28 May 2015
Google jump 3D alignment software
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A new VR camera design, a new Cardboard headset and YouTube support - Google is serious about VR

Google looks to be getting more serious about virtual reality. Last year it launched its ‘ghetto’ VR viewer - Google Cardboard - which wowed us by turning a smartphone into a VR headset for the price of just a few pounds. This year it’s not only pushing that concept into even more hands, but it’s also trying to get more content for us to get immersed within.

Read all the latest news from Google IO 2015

First up at Google’s IO 2015 keynote was a new Google Cardboard Viewer. The new design fits larger handsets, up to 6in in size, which covers most of the new big flagship phones and phablets. Compatibility with Cardboard in the past was largely limited due to an over-complex button that set off the magnetometer in the phone. We’re not entirely sure how the new button works, but Google claims it will work with every phone. This alone should hugely increase Cardboard’s reach, we think everyone should have one.

Google new cardboard viewer

And everyone should want one too, as Google is pushing far more VR content. For starters there’s support for VR content in YouTube coming this summer. Along with better curation of VR content in the Play Store, with apps getting certified that they work with Cardboard.

Finally, Google has a plan to create a load more VR content for all us Cardboard owners to gawp at. It’s called Jump, and it’s a hardware blueprint so that anyone can build their own 16 camera capture array for VR video capture. You could try and knock one up yourself, but the clever people at GoPro have already made one if that sounds a bit much.

Google Jump GoPro

Jump isn’t just hardware though, there’s some very clever software too. It takes the input from the 16 cameras and processes all the data to create a single, unbroken virtual experience from 16 seperate cameras, and in stereoscopic 3D too. It looks mind-boggingly complex but the results look great.

Google Jump image software

It all adds up to a lot more VR content, with smaller producers being able to shoot and upload VR content to YouTube. It’s a first step, but give it a few years and YouTube could be brimming with VR experiences from all over the world.