While Google announced a bunch of interesting new things at Google I/O 2017’s keynote, much like WWDC, there’s always interesting things coming out of other sessions. Such as, information the 2.0 software update for Google Daydream, codenamed Euphrates. There’s two particularly interesting features to come in this update. One is that Google’s trying to bring a lot more of the phone experience into Daydream. For example, you’ll have access to normal phone functions via a 2D panel that can pop up while in VR. So, you can check notifications, see a web browser, and more while in VR. This sounds simple, but I think it’s going to be key to mobile VR becoming important.
See, I think a fear with mobile VR is potentially that if you use your phone, you run into the issue of, well, not being able to use your phone. If mobile VR an tackle that problem, of making sure that people can enjoy mobile virtual reality without worrying about being disconnected from their phone, then that only helps the potential of Daydream and similar platforms. Arguably, it’s a problem that should have been addressed from day one, but technical realities could have impacted that.
The other cool feature is that addition of Chromecast support, so you can share your VR experiences with the people around you. VR is cool in part because of the social aspect of watching other people, and sharing the experience. Giving people in social situations the ability to share that with ease is a great thing. Daydream Euphrates is set to hit later this year for all Daydream-capable devices.