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Google Debuts VR Tour of New York’s Famous Festive Store Windows

Take a virtual stroll past festive window displays and get swept up in all the holiday goodness.

There are very few places more spectacular than New York City during the holidays. Skating at Rockefeller Center, seeing the Christmas tree lighting, so many awesome moments that you really have to see to understand. One of the harder things to explain to those who have never been is the fascination with checking out storefront windows with incredibly elaborate decorations. That’s why Google’s new Window Wonderland app is one my favorite virtual reality experience currently available.

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The application takes you on 360 tour of over 15 famous holiday storefronts such as Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barney’s. Viewable on Daydream and other various VR headsets, users are able to explore these displays via rich, life-like panorama’s made of multiple high-resolution photos expertly stitched together. The results are gorgeous 360 images that makes you want to lean on the window glass and write your name like a kid. The experience even includes 360 positional audio of the bustling crowds to give you all the necessary ambiance, minus the actual pushing and shoving. There are also options to listen along to audio guides of the various window designers explaining in detail how they constructed their respective structures.

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My favorite from the bunch is by far the hysterical South Park installation at Barney’s. The raunchy display features Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and others clamoring over the hottest gifts from the show in their own window display. The entertaining presentation was designed in support for the #LovePeaceJoyProject charity campaign as well so you’re laughing for a good cause. Other worthy mentionables include Bloomingdale’s beautifully colored fluorescent light designs, Ralph Lauren’s classy fireplace display featuring the world’s best dressed mannequin family, and Macy’s ‘Believe’ campaign which shows incredible scenes that combine modern technology with classic holiday nostalgia.

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The result is one of the most visually impressive years of holiday window displays since the tradition began roughly 150 years ago. The Window Wonderland app is the perfect format for allowing people around the world to truly experience what it’s like to walk the NYC streets and experience these awe-inspiring visuals. To try it yourself in virtual reality, head to Window Wonderland on your smartphone, select the display you’d like to explore, click the VR symbol at the bottom of the page and slide your phone into your headset. Don’t have a headset? No worries! You can use your computer, phone or tablet to click and drag your way through all the displays in 2D for a slightly less-immersive tour.

About the Scout

Kyle Melnick

Kyle is a writer for VRScout also working in new media production. He's also a part-time bounty hunter.

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