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Google Maps Gets Virtual Reality Support

Google Maps' first-person Street View is a natural fit for virtual reality, and the two have finally come together for anyone with an Android phone and some cardboard. The Android version of Google's popular navigation app now has a VR mode, allowing anyone with a Google Cardboard viewer to virtually walk around select cities all over the world. 

To activate Google Maps' VR mode, you simply open Street View and double-tap the refresh icon at the bottom right of the screen. This will split the display in two, so you'll need to drop your phone into one of several Google Cardboard viewers to experience the virtual reality effect.

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You can make your own Google Cardboard using velcro, rubber bands, magnets, lenses and cardboard, or buy one of several pre-made goggles such as the $22 Dodo Case and the $20 I Am Cardboard. 

Google hasn't specified which destinations support VR mode (the company's blog uses Dubai's Burj Khalifa as an example), nor has it mentioned whether the feature will come the iOS version of Maps. The feature seems like a natural fit for Samsung's just-released Gear VR, a $200 virtual reality headset that uses the Galaxy Note 4 as its display.

If you can't afford a $200 VR headset that requires a $300 phone, however, it's good to know that some cheap cardboard and an Android phone is all you need to virtually escape to another city for a bit.

Source: Google

Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook.

  • hitman400
    If all you need is your android phone and some cardboard VR headset, then I'm sorry, it is basically like looking at your phone with gyro on, which has already been done in an app called Tourist and countless others and instead of moving your head, you move your body.
    Reply
  • ahaywood
    If all you need is your android phone and some cardboard VR headset, then I'm sorry, it is basically like looking at your phone with gyro on, which has already been done in an app called Tourist and countless others and instead of moving your head, you move your body.

    With one key difference, the split view to turn it into 3D, and it also fills in much more of your field of view, and is designed this way to provide a more immersive experience.
    Reply
  • Maikalq
    Yeah ?! And do someone care ? Google maps is not anymore The Thing it were once before. The highest quality and performance Flash Maps API is missing, the REST API is like "kill me twice" for the developers, and overall HTML5 sux to the core. Well. I am switched to Here.com Maps API - the best free API out there.
    Reply
  • emanuensis
    It is just stereo data. People have been free viewing this data since the invention of photography. Eg i did a graphical rendering ~stereoSY. The data would be wonderful to have, and if on every cellphone it can be used w/o carrying around any bulky "cardboard VR"

    --~
    http://i.tgu.ca/stereoSY
    Reply