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.
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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