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Google Puts New Focus on Virtual Reality

Google’s plans for virtual reality may be less elaborate than those of Facebook-owned Oculus VR with its high-tech headset, but the search engine giant’s approach is still pretty cool.

Google, during its annual I/O developers conference Thursday, announced a number of updates to Cardboard, a project aimed at making virtual reality an affordable pastime for all.

Cardboard
Google Cardboard

Cardboard uses software to bring 3D viewing to a standard Smartphone placed within a $20 cardboard frame.

One of the updates is a new Cardboard, introduced Thursday, that supports larger phones with screens up to six inches. It also has a new button that works with any handset. The cardboard frame assembles (and disassembles) in three quick steps.

Each of the 5,000 developers at the keynote address, delivered by product vice-president and project lead Clay Bavor, received a new Cardboard to test.

Google also announced a new ring-shaped camera system called Jump that can capture 360-degree videos. The company will be using Jump to record 360-degree videos for YouTube — these videos are made specifically for viewing with Cardboard.

To take Jump a step further, Google is teaming up with action camera maker GoPro. As part of the partnership, GoPro will use the technology to create and sell a VR-type camera.

Google did not announce a timeline for the project.

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