The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff



VR mega update: Facebook Spaces, Facebook AR, Google Earth & Microsoft Headsets

After Easter weekend, we were all relaxed, digesting all chocolate eggs we have eaten. When, suddenly, Tuesday came and gave us a hard wake up with a bazillion of virtual reality news! Here you are a small digest if you missed something!

Facebook Spaces

At F8 conference, Facebook has announced Spaces, its social VR environment.

So, what is Spaces? Spaces is that cool application that Facebook showcased at Oculus Connect 3 …the one we believed it was pure fluff.

Well, it seems that it is not fluff… since now it has been released! With Spaces you will be able to cartoonize yourself and then meet all your friends in VR! Continue reading “VR mega update: Facebook Spaces, Facebook AR, Google Earth & Microsoft Headsets”

Google creates an amazing technology to see the face in mixed reality

If you’re a VR enthusiast like me, surely in these two days your Twitter feed has been flooded by GIFs like this one:

Google mixed reality
Ok, you got my attention (Image by Google)

If your question has been “what the heck is happening?”… well, I’m here to help you a bit.

It all started with Google sharing this article on its blog, followed by this super-interesting research paper (I suggest you to give it a read!) and some youtube videos like this one.

When reading all those articles, the first thing we did was looking at the calendar… and no, it was not April the 1st, so this news had to be real. So that faces behind the headset were real! Continue reading “Google creates an amazing technology to see the face in mixed reality”

Google Daydream, a little review

Thursday evening I was able to try for some minutes a Google Daydream headset, thanks to guys of GDG Torino that invited us of Immotionar at their Sognando La Realtà event. This is my very little review about it.

If you have ever tried a Samsung GearVR headset… well, the experience is quite identical. Only differences with it are that it is more comfortable and that you can interact using a little remote. And that’s it with this review. I’ve told you that it was little… 😀

Just kidding, but in fact these are the most important things that I have to say. Google Daydream is a nice mobile headset, where you can insert your mobile phone and live virtual reality.

Google Daydream vr headset
Take a Google Pixel, put it in there and thanks to NFC magic, your Daydream home menu will appear!

Only supported phone is Google Pixel at the moment, but more are about to come (for example one Motorola and one Lenovo). The advantage of Daydream platform over GearVR one is that it will compatible with lots of phones from different vendors, so it will be an open platform (and this is the reason why it will outperform its competitor in the end, I guess). Google Daydream is all covered in fabric… this has been a choice of Google, so that the headset resembles a piece of cloting and seems more a natural thing to wear (a very hippy marketing thing in my opinion :D).

Continue reading “Google Daydream, a little review”

Google Earth VR for HTC Vive

Virtual reality world is very cool because every day you wake up and there is an unexpected news popping out from nowhere and that excites you a lot. Today’s great news has been the announcement by Google of the release of Google Earth in Virtual Reality!

It seems to be a project that has born 4 ago inside Google, by employees using the famous 20% of creative time that Big-G leaves to all its developers to create interesting side-projects (lots of great services of Google have born this way: Gmail is a great example of these). 4 years ago means 2012, the year that Oculus Kickstarter campaign has begun changing our future… so these smart guys envisioned Google Earth in virtual reality the very first moment they saw a VR headset! They kept the project secret till now, where they suddenly unveiled and released this little jewel. Continue reading “Google Earth VR for HTC Vive”

OT: Google Quickdraw

Just inaugurating my off-topic section with this post, that doesn’t talk about virtual reality or startup life. Today I just want to talk about my little experience with Google Quickdraw.

Google Quickdraw is like playing Draw Something (or Pictionary, for who, like me, spent some entertaining evenings playing with the board game), but against an Artificial Intelligence system… the one of Google… and you know how Google is smart with neural networks. (do you remember the success of DeepGo against the Go world champion? Well, Pepperidge Farm remembers) Continue reading “OT: Google Quickdraw”

Google Tango enters the virtual reality world

At last Google Tango enters the VR (and AR) world. I was waiting for it since months, maybe years. And finally today, on UploadVR I found that it was happening.

Ok, let me take a step back and clarify everything. What is Google Tango? Tango is an augmented reality platform that Google announced back in 2014. Long story short, it is a platform for Android tablets and smartphones that, using depth and color cameras from the device, lets you reconstruct completely the environment around you. It means that you can move your Tango device around and then have a complete reconstruction of your room in real time. This can be great for two possible kind of applications:

  • Scanning and reconstruction of 3D models: you can move your tablet around a little statue to reconstruct the model of that statue and then use it in some virtual world you’re making;
  • Augmented reality: the main field of application of Google Tango: once you have all your surrounding environment reconstructed, you can put virtual objects inside it and interact with them freely. If you’re thinking that’s the same thing that I’ve been talking about in my Hololens article… well, you’re right: it’s the same stuff.

Continue reading “Google Tango enters the virtual reality world”

Google announced Daydream

Yesterday Google announced its new flagship phone, Pixel, and a lot of new epic stuff, among which its new virtual reality platform: Daydream. If you, like me, didn’t watch the live streaming (too lazy to do it), you can read the main points of the conference here.

So, Google abandoned Nexus brand to start the Pixel one: the phone is quite powerful, has a good design and has reduced the gap with Samsung and Apple phones. New software features like Google Assistant and free cloud storage to store your photos at high resolutions make it a lot appealing to consumers. This is an image of two Pixel phones… cool, aren’t they?

Google Pixel phones... look at how the design is beautiful (image from The Verge)
Google Pixel phones… look at how the design is beautiful (image from The Verge)

With this new phone, the company has launched its new virtual reality platform, that is Daydream and its new headset, the Daydream View. Continue reading “Google announced Daydream”

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