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Putt-Putt Google Earth VR Looks Amazing

The new video also teases “puppet skinning” for Tilt Brush.

When YouTube channel Nat and Friends toured Google VR, we were honestly expecting to see experiments from Google’s Daydream Labs that we’ve already seen. Projects we’ve reported on like Google’s headset removal or last year’s social VR experiments have been some of our favorites.

What we weren’t expecting to see was putt-putt golf in Google Earth VR or a few other inspiring demos that show us what’s possible with the immersive technology in the near term.

The first of a two-part series with host Nat, her video journey starts at Daydream Labs, a rapid prototyping effort within Google VR. “We’ve actually done more than a hundred prototypes,” comments Google software engineer Rob Jagnow in the video. “Every week we just pick something new and crank on it. Maybe one [week] we’re looking into what makes a comfortable reading experience, the other week might be testing a game or looking at mixed reality, or new ways to be bring a real world camera into a virtual world.”

The first VR demo Nat jumps into is a diving board experience that’s meant to demonstrate how you can “feel a sense of presence.” Rocking a HTC Vive headset, Nat looks down some 50 meters over a pool. Curious enough, the screen footage shared shows her feet tracked in VR.

Putt-Putt Google Earth VR

But it was the second experiment that I got most excited to see tested at Daydream Labs. When exploring what could be built on top of Google Earth VR that was fun and engaging, the team decided to go with putt-putt. The demo video shows a user putt-putting through Central Park and even in Meteor Crater. As Jagnow shares, it looks “so freaking fun.”

On top of the putt-putt Google Earth VR experiment, we also see glimpses of other projects including what appears to be an avatar dressing experience.

Avatar dressing and shopping in VR experiment.

“Everyone I talk to is deeply passionate about creating more compelling and immersive experiences,” reflects Nat. “But knowing exactly how we get there and how we solve the hard problems that block the way are still open questions.”

Bringing real-world cameras and photos into VR.

Puppet Skinning Tilt Brush

And if putt putt Google Earth wasn’t enough for you, at the end of the video, we see a glimpse of Nat and Friends’ next episode where she shows off a never before seen “Puppet Skinning” for Tilt Brush. The clip shows Nat doing a chicken dance and her avatar in Tilt Brush mirroring her movements! Woah.

“Puppet Skinning” in Tilt Brush?

Nat and Friends launched as a YouTube channel in 2015 to explore projects around Google. Originally started as “Nat & Lo’s 20% Project,” Nat has kept up with monthly videos since, giving us a peek into all the curious developments happening around the Google campus. Nat has been working at Google for close to seven years now.

You can watch the full Nat and Friends episode as she tours Google VR in the video below:

Image Credit: YouTube – Nat and Friends

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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