More and more we’re seeing tech giants hedging their bets on the success of virtual reality platforms. Facebook and most recently Google, have all thrown their hats into the ring in the battle for VR supremacy.
Common visions of virtual reality evoke images of isolated individuals living out virtual lives in digital worlds reminiscent of the plugged-in, Matrix-esque citizens represented in Pixar’s sci-fi, Wall-E. Google on the other hand has a brighter and more social vision of the future.
At this year’s Google I/O, Google showcased their new features for YouTube VR. The latest expansion of Google’s VR platform, “Daydream” will allow users to join rooms with others to share 360 degree digital experiences together. Users will be represented by customizable cartoon avatars that appear within the virtual-sphere. The new YouTube feature will have microphone support to maintain the feeling of immersion in a virtual world with your friends and family in a sort of, virtual Google Hangout.
Imagine joining a VR room with other fans of your favorite artist to share in watching a virtual concert or music video; or hitting the virtual snowboard trails with your buddies in the middle of summer. These new features aim to place an emphasis on building communities and linking friends and families while dispelling the notion that virtual reality must be an anti-social experience.