Google harnesses the power of photos and street view to deliver simplified, web-based VR development to students and teachers.
It’s officially day two of Google’s annual I/O Developer Conference here in beautiful Mountain View, California and the companies AR & VR division has once again started off the day with some big news. Taking a break from its long-list of AR-based reveals, Google instead started off today’s festivities with the announcement of Tour Creator, a new tool that allows anyone to create their own personal world tours in VR.
Using images from Google Street View or their own 360-degree photos, students, teachers, pretty much anyone with a bad case of wanderlust can now design and build interactive tours of their favorite locations all through a simplified web-based application. This means that virtually anyone, regardless of their experience in VR development, has the opportunity to build their own immersive content.
“The technology gets out of the way and enables students to focus on crafting fantastic visual stories,” explains Charlie Reisinger, a school Technology Director in Pennsylvania.
“Being able to work with Tour Creator has been an awesome experience,” adds Jennifer Newton, a school media coordinator in Georgia. “It has allowed our students from a small town in Georgia to tell our story to the world.”
Here’s how it works: Begin by choosing the title of your upcoming tour as well as the cover photo you’d like displayed as its preview. You can then search across Google Street View for your desired locations, or upload your own 360-degree photos for a one-of-a-kind tour. Multiple locations, or “scenes” as they’re referred to by Google, can be stitched together to form a single tour. You also have the opportunity to add various interactive elements, such as specialized buttons which activate additional information on the current scene.
Google has already uploaded some impressive VR tours to their Google Poly 3D content library where you too can submit and share your virtual tour with friends, family, and other interested users. Examples include a detailed examination of the seven wonders of the world, an interesting look at the extravagant Plaza Hotel in NYC, even a tour of this years I/O conference!
Google made waves in 2015 with its introduction of Google Expedition, taking students across the U.S. on virtual field trips to some of the planets most exotic locations. With Tour Creator, Google ups-the-ante further by allowing students and other enthusiastic vagabonds to actually create the very tours they’ve been enjoying over the course of the last three years.
Google’s Tour Creator is available now on standard web browsers, Google Cardboard compatible headsets with planned support for Google Expeditions support later this year. To start building your own VR tour, head over to g.co/tourcreator.
Image Credit: Google AR & VR