The Google Street View app on Android and iOS now has native support for Google Cardboard and other mobile Virtual Reality devices. After opening the Street View app (which must be downloaded separately from the Google Maps app), just enter any address or location you can think of. After that, tap the little icon on the top right that looks like a pair of goggles, and put on your mobile VR headset. To move, you simple look in the direction you want to go and pull the magnet or push the button on your Google Cardboard. If your device lacks a button or magnet, you will have to take your phone out every time you want to move around.
This works with Samsung’s Gear VR headset as well. Just follow these instructions and you can use the Street View app on Gear VR. Using a Gear VR with Street View is the best way, as the touchpad on it’s side allows for a seamless means of moving around that a magnet or even a push button on the Cardboard 2.0’s do not measure up to.
Goodbye VR Travel Apps
The thing that stuck out to me the most when using the Street View app was how irrelevant it’s going to make the dozen or so other travel apps once Google get’s features like social exploration and a complete VR user interface in there. Not only can you now view the millions of panoramas they have taken from all over the world, but you can also view 360° pictures that people have taken and uploaded.
Let’s take for example an app that would let you view different restaurants and tour them in Virtual Reality with 360° pictures. Google already does the same thing with their Street View, and with an interface that’s been ironed out over many years. These kind of apps will have to innovate in a unique way to give people a reason to use them over Google Street View.
Even with all the hype surrounding Street View’s new VR functionality, when light field comes this will all seem like old tech.