- Google reported that more than 10 million Cardboard virtual reality viewers have been shipped and more than 160 million Cardboard apps have been downloaded, with 30 of these having more than 1 million downloads each, the company reported in a blog post.
- SKY VR is the latest video app for Daydream, Google’s VR hardware and software platform, showcasing a range of 360 videos. Overall, Daydream users are spending about 40 minutes per week using the devices.
- Tango, Google's augmented reality platform, has also added new developments, including the WSJ AR app that lets users visualize stock trends, as well as The Sims and Chelsea Kicker apps.
Google is present at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week and took the opportunity to provide a few updates on its mobile-driven augmented reality and virtual offerings.
The numbers, which aren’t going to blow anyone away, are the latest example that while immersive technologies continue to grow, they have not yet taken off in a way reflective of the hype or that warrants more than preliminary testing for most marketers.
A recent IDC report predicts businesses will spend $13.9 million on AR and VR this year, up 130.5%. Spending by the retail industry is expected to speed up significantly over the next few years, making it the largest segment by spend by 2020.
The Tango news is significant in that one school of thought holds that AR has the bigger potential compared to VR for overall growth and consumer engagement. The WSJ AR app for visualizing stock trends offers an early example of how publishers and content providers could leverage AR to bring their data to life through interactivity. The Sims app points to the technology’s potential for immersive guides while the Chelsea Kicker app shows off how it could be used to provide sports instruction.
Google, not surprisingly, is pushing the entertainment potential of its AR and VR technologies beyond just gaming, where the audience size is more limited. Specifically, Google reports that video-watching is the top category of entertainment on Daydream. Additionally, YouTube, which has hundreds of thousands of 360 videos available, is the top Daydream app in terms of time spent and number of users.