Google is known for bringing forward many ideas in creative ways of tackling technology, not all of them ending as good products. It does a range from the RF motion controls of Project Soli, Allo, Google’s fun approach to personal assistant and assisted messaging or even Google “Project Tango” Phablet(Phab 2 Pro) that can deliver full motion freedom in VR(like HTC Vive), 3D rendering of real life objects and AR tracking. Check those three out down below if you want to know more.
Project Tango : https://get.google.com/tango/
Google Allo : https://allo.google.com/
Google Explorations is simple and don’t offer much feature, but what it does is done quite right. The approach requires a live host as well as explorers. It’s accessible to most user and the app is free on the Play Store. You will need a Guide, at least one explorer each with a VR Headset (Cardboard or others) and a WiFi router. An internet connection is also suggested for the host to be able to download the different explorations available, but it is not required if the content has already been downloaded.
The content varies from historical building, underwater explorations, TV Studio and Sets, Sandiego Zoo and literally hundreds more. Every expedition comes with a number of scenes, the different 360 photos to explore in a project. The guide has a few tools at his disposition, but his goal is to be focused on the expedition itself.
To control the exploration, the guide uses his phone outside VR, just like any app. He has complete control over the scenes he shows and he can pause the presentation if required. Notes are shown on the Guide’s phone screen. I wish I could write my own notes if I discover more information because the Guide uses this information to animate the group. None of the text appears for the explorers in VR. It also provides questions and answers he can ask the participants.
Participants are shown the selected scene and are free to look around in VR with almost any smart phone and a Mobile VR Viewer. The guide covers general information about the place the explorers are viewing. To get viewers’ attention, the guide can highlight points of interests from the scene menu and also have access to general information about it. The explorers will have an arrow appear pointing toward the point of interest while the Guide can see where each user is looking. with smiling faces floating around. This enhance the Guide’s speech because visual presence is added to the experience, making it more memorable.
While it only support English language, it’s only the Guide role that is affected. A Guide knowing the subject can easily talk any language to its audience. This could be a great addition to exhibits and museums as well as guided tours. I’d wish there were more options like adding personal markers and notes for a Guide instead of using the predefined ones. With already days worth of continuous content to explore, a nice group experience approach and an easy interface, Google Expeditions is a great tool any one can use.