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Google Teams With GoPro to Bring VR to YouTube

Nick Woodman, founder and chief executive officer of GoPro Inc.
Brad Quick | CNBC
Nick Woodman, founder and chief executive officer of GoPro Inc.

Google has a new virtual reality platform, called Jump, meant to take the nascent technology mainstream.

And here's Google Jump's first product: A super-camera from GoPro called Array that captures 360-degree footage.

GoPro built the new device, which stitches together the video captured by 16 cameras into one file. Google built the rendering technology, which allows the 3-D videos to live on YouTube, a first for the site. Some of YouTube's top video makers will be the first to get access to the camera, starting in July.

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Clay Bavor, Google's VP of product management and the creator of Cardboard, announced the news Thursday at I/O, the company's annual developer conference. VR videos designed on Array will be made available on Cardboard, the company's low-cost VR headset that Google announced at last year's I/O. The pitch: By keeping the price closer to $20 than the hundreds of dollars that Facebook, Sony and HTC will charge for their devices, Google is aiming for a large, mainstream audience.

On Thursday, Bavor announced that Google has shipped over one million Cardboard units since its debut last year.

And integrating VR into YouTube makes some sense — the signs were there, if you read closely. With a looming tidal wave of virtual reality headsets, Google and its competitors will want to drive adoption with strong, unique content to stand out.

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Google Jump and Array will likely challenge Jaunt, a "cinematic VR" startup that shared its VR-movie ambitions earlier this year at Code/Media.

By Mark Bergen, Re/code.net.

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