Google VR head Bavor says VR has a long way to go before it is accepted by the masses



With talk that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will have a 4K screen to make images look better with a VR viewer, you might consider that a sign that virtual reality has arrived. But the truth is actually much different. The head of Google's VR division, Clay Bavor, says that the number of people who have used VR or even know about it is "approximately zero percent of the world.” Obviously you can't go by our readers who are apt to be early adapters of such technology.

Bavor says that adaption of VR is going to be slower than many had hoped for. He says that he expects the technology to piggyback on the popularity of the smartphone to eventually gain mass adaption. The Google executive is in Cannes at an advertising festival where he ranked 360-degree YouTube ads that are currently available to viewers, even those without a VR headset. So far these ads have generated 20 million views. Click on the video at the top of this story to experience a 360-degree YouTube ad for the BMW M2.

Speaking of ads, VR is a great platform to advertise certain products like cars, hotels and theme parks where experiencing the product is what drives sales. And in the world of sports, VR streaming could allow those at home to feel that they are inside the arena to cheer on their favorite team. VR could allow those purchasing tickets to any event to see the sight lines from a certain seat before the ticket is purchased.

Creativity will play a major role in the usefulness of VR as a tool. OnePlus has unveiled its last two flagship phones, the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3 via VR. This year, the company made history by allowing viewers to purchase the OnePlus 3 from a VR shopping mall inside a virtual space station.

To help create a standard for the industry, Google introduced its Daydream VR platform last month. The platform will work with Android "N" and will include smartphones, controllers, app developers and more. Meanwhile. to show those attending the festival in Cannes what VR can do, Google is showing off an app called Tilt Brush which allows users to paint in virtual space.


Frankly, it is hard not to see the the public becoming enthralled with the technology. But as Google's Bavor points out, there is still a long way to go before VR becomes a household tool.

source: WSJ

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38 Comments

1. Carlitos

Posts: 668; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Honestly give until late next year. I've already gotten many great reactions and excitement from people that don't really follow into tech like that. And hoping that by the next iteration of the play station and Xbo, VR is in full gear

28. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Mobile VR is going to command the vast majority of the VR market. That's a given, especially when most smartphones already have the hardware needed for VR. So users only have to spend a little more in order to get a good VR experience. Not to mention most of the VR content is on mobile devices right now. (YouTube, 360 cameras, as well as other VR apps and games) The next iteration of PS or Xbox hardware is going to cost over $1000. Plus you have to add the cost of the VR headset itself. Even Sony's VR headset for the current PS/4 will cost users $400.

36. GoTstan

Posts: 386; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Dude they're gonna be expensive but not a $1000 expensive

2. JMartin22

Posts: 2370; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

How does putting on a binding head strap feel immersive? And how exactly is it interactive either? I just don't understand this technology and the point of it in its current form. VR taking off is going to have to undergo a bigger metamorphosis in medium than the current hardware technology they're using to demo it to consumers.

7. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

I've got a Vive and honestly you don't notice the headset most of the time when you're wearing it and are immersed in a game or whatever. As for how it's interactive, I'd have thought that was pretty obvious; you control your point of view with your head, like you do in real life, and that fools the brain. It really has to be tried to be believed, it's impossible to explain to someone just how immersive an experience it is. Usually when you play a game you're looking at a screen and can see your surroundings, but in VR all you can see wherever you look is the game world and that changes how our brains perceive it. If something comes flying towards your head in VR you instinctively duck because your brain thinks it's real.

12. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right, just like bike helmet.. you wont notice it once you get used to it, lol... VR right now just only need slightly wider FOV, 4k screen for each eye, 90fps, under 20ms latency, and some magic to fix that nausea feeling on some people :-/

25. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

Yeah, the bike helmet is a great analogy, I'll have to remember that one. And I think you're list of requirements for the perfect experience are about right, (though I think they need to aim for 120fps) fortunately that's not much above the current hardware specs and should be easily attainable in the next generation. As long as you've got one hell of a graphics card that is, pushing twin 4k screens at that fps is going to need some serious processing power!

3. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

he knows android doesnt have a chance in vr sector...most of her oems are developing their own vr ecosystems....wait until microsoft launches xbox scorpio,u will know vr is not a joke......windows holographic,vr and ar( a la hololens) will become mainstream

8. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

Why wait for the consoles to catch up? Scorpio will run one or both of the existing PC VR headsets, but won't be as powerful as a high end gaming rig and therefore won't be able to run games as graphically impressive. Sony have probably got the better idea in developing their own headset with a lower resolution that the PS4.5 will have an easier time running games on. Getting a console to run headsets designed for PCs is impressive, but the experience will always be better on the platform the hardware was actually designed for as PCs are much more powerful. If you're going to spend over $600 on a headset surely you'll want to get the best out of it?

21. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Clearly your an idiot Martineverest. Even though VR is small right now. They did mention that over 5 million Google Cardboards are already out there. So how many Holographic VR headsets are out there in the world. Oh, wait none! As far as Hololens (AR) it's only a small number, especially since it cost $3000. Not to mention it's tiny FOV of around 35 degrees. Its like looking at a 15" display place 2 feet in front of you. Putting all that aside, mobile VR already has the greatest chance to define and hold the largest amount of VR users. It's easy to see especially since smartphones already have most of the hardware needed for VR. Also mobile VR right now already has access to the most VR content. As far as AR is concerned, there is already a lot of mobile AR apps. Even Android or Google's Tango can do a number of things that no one has offered before, and at a fraction of the cost of Windows Holographic AR. Two main factors that will help to grow any device or adoption. Price and the most useful and fun apps.

4. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

if google doesnt have a response to hololens,the future of android in mixed reality will be in jeopardy

9. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

AR really isn't suited to phones; sure you can use the camera, but that can never compare to actually having CGI laid over what you see with your own eyes. For AR to work properly you need a translucent screen mounted just in front of your eyes, which isn't really an option with a phone.

19. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

WTF are you talking about. AR can be many things. From the sounds of both you and Martineverest, none of you have seen or even used any mobile device for any AR. I remember looking at the first AR driving app on my smartphone over 4 years ago. It would show my the car ahead, the speed, and direction I was driving at. It would even warn me if I was getting to close to the car in front. A year later there was traveling AR apps that if you pointed your phone at a land mark site, then it would display some information in regards to what you are looking at. There are mobile VR games and all kinds of AR apps already. Even Google's Project Tango or Tango now can measure, just by pointing at two points. You can decorate a room using your smartphone with AR and much more. So to say that AR is not suited to phones is showing the world how ignorant you really are. So are you going to walk in public with Microsoft's Hololens strapped onto your head? Besides most people already carry a smartphone. Not to mention Hololens right now has the worst FOV at around 35 degrees. Never mind the pricing.

23. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

They're side uses of AR that could be done just as easily (and probably more safely, the idea of driving while looking at your phone terrifies me as that has to block some of your vision) with a non-AR app, do you really think people are going to walk around with their phones held up in front of their faces all the time? No, that's not where AR is of real use. To do AR properly you need a visor across your entire FoV that graphics can then be displayed on. Hololens is far from doing that at the moment, but it's a step in the right direction to a truly useful AR experience. Whereas AR on the phone really is nothing more than a novelty that does things you can already do with an app.

27. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Let's get totally real. Hololens is really cool. However it has a number of things going against it. Other than price being a major problem. Ergonomics is another major problem. Hololens has to sit on your head for any kind of usage, and it's dedicated hardware. So are users going to walk around with hololens headsets in public? Do you see that happening in the near future? If Microsoft themselves called Google Glass users Glassholes. Then what are people going to call users with a hololens helmets on their head? Dork, idiot, .... I am sure there will be other names. Now when you look at mobile VR and AR. Most smartphones already come with the hardware needed for either AR or VR. Users only have to spend a little extra in order to get a decent VR experience. The same is true for AR as well. Not to mention you can use the mobile smartphone for other things as well as VR and AR. If anything Microsoft should address mobile first before trying to get into VR and AR.

29. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

I think you're missing the point of the actual applications of AR. It's not for walking around in public, that's why Glass was such a failure and the people who used it were rightly mocked. It's for surgeons to use whilst they're operating, engineers to use while designing something or looking for faults in a structure and soldiers on the battlefield. These sort of things are where AR will make a difference and become ubiquitous. Hololens is not a consumer product, it's a prototype and proof of concept. MS are leading the field at the moment, but clearly technology needs to move on before it gains acceptance. The VR experience on mobile is absolute crap compared to a proper headset. I've got a Gear VR and a Vive and the difference really is like night and day. VR and AR on mobiles is nothing more than novelties, dedicated hardware is necessary to get a decent experience in either. That may change in the future, but I doubt it.

32. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Like I said last time. Let's get real. The HTC Vive is cool, and right now offers the best VR experience. No doubt. However it is not for the regular consumer. Plus you need a great computer system with one of the latest graphics cards. Not to mention you have to set up two dedicated cameras for the Vive in a room. Never mind the pricing of it. It's out in left field for the vast majority of consumers. Sure you get 90 fps, and the Gear VR gets only 60 fps. But the resolution is great on the Gear VR. To say it's absolute crap is totally wrong on your part, especially when the Gear VR has a higher resolution display than the HTC Vive. The future is always changing, and this is where the mobile hardware is getting better and faster all the time. The quad core SD 820 for instance can operate at almost 500 gigaflops. The octa core SD 830 is suppose to operate at close to 900 gigaflops. That is just shy of a teraflop. The XBox One operates at 1.24 teraflops. So to even think that Mobile devices will not get up to desktop speeds, is like Bill Gates when he said that we will never ever need more than 640kb of ram. Btw take a look at Lenovo's Phablet 2 which is dedicated hardware geared towards AR. Not to mention Android N with Daydream support.

35. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

I think you misread what I wrote. I did not say the Gear VR is crap, I said it's crap in comparison to the Vive. I had a Gear first and thought it was great, but then when I got a Vive it became obvious that dedicated hardware is so much better it makes the Gear crap in comparison. Not sure what the XBox One has to do with anything, it was underpowered when it came out. The minimum spec for the Vive is a GTX 970 which is capable of 3.9tflops. Mobile GPUs are a long way off being capable of that sort of computational speed; I sure you can build a chip small enough for a mobile that could match that speed, but power draw and heat are the real problems. And even those specs aren't really good enough for VR, ideally we're looking to get it to QHD for each eye and 120fps. I'm sure mobiles will be capable of handling that one day, but that day is a long, long way away. What about the Phab 2? It's still a mobile and I still see no real use or future for AR on mobiles. AR has been available on mobiles for over a decade now and still hasn't caught on or found any practical uses that a normal non-AP app couldn't do. As I said in my previous post, AR will find its home in professional fields like medicine and engineering, and they'll use dedicated hardware.

5. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

VR is going to take off when Apple releases a VR-ready iPhone.....Apple always sets the trend *in most cases*

6. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Samsung has already set the trend for VR.

10. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Samsung did set the trend, but I'm talking about "VR taking off". I think it will take off once Apple popularizes VR via iPhone....like finger print scanner.

11. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"I think it will take off once Apple popularizes VR via iPhone..." Yeah, Apple popularize VR with it's 1080p and even 750p iPhones, right? Don't kid yourself. /s

18. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

You are just another fanboy who likes to troll and dismiss Apple's achievements. I use iPhone 6S and Samsung S7 edge and love both phones and platforms. Apple does not always create something new first, but when they do it (e.g. Finger print, Apple Pay, iPad, etc.), they always makes the feature/product very popular or mainstream....Gear VR hasn't achieved it yet...Oculus Rift is still for enthusiasts...Apple VR will likely achieve it.

20. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

First off, Finger Print Scanner debuted on an Android phone, even if Apple had not put a FP Scanner in it's iPhones, it still would have been popular, because the smartphone industry was already moving towards this evolution. Apple makes nothing popular. Who're you kidding here?

26. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Apple made the fingerprint scanner popular. Plain and simple. Nobody cared about it until they did it. The smartphone industry moves at the beat of Apple's drum for just about everything, except software. My Samsung rep for my store even admitted that Samsung wants to compete more aggressively with Apple by mimicking Apple. Also those old junky "swipe" sensors for fingerprint security weren't very good. The evolution of fingerprint security came when Apple made it relevant with a touch sensor on the home button.

30. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

You just can't admit that Apple made finger scanner popular on smartphones. "Apple makes nothing popular." LOLLL.....you are not from this world.

31. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Apple makes nothing popular by innovation, that's what I meant. It's the Apple brand which makes it popular.

33. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

We should all thank Apple for making certain features popular in smartphone regardless of whether it's because of its brand. The brand itself can only go so far. It's the integration of software, hardware and services that make good devices...not just the brand. Samsung has done very well in its S7 series lately...even better than iPhone 6S series.

34. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Huh? The Galaxy S series have been better than the iPhone series since the S3! So, it isn't only in this year which Samsung has done well and above Apple's iPhones.

37. vliang86

Posts: 337; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

You are clearly not from this world....all bias toward one company (Samsung) and not admit the pros and cons of each platform.

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