Google Blocks: VR for everybody

7 July, 2017 | By Ruchika Sharma
10 - Google Block

Search engine giant ‘Google’ has added yet another feather to its already pretty overcrowded cap that it wears in the tech space with the introduction of a virtual reality application for beginners who want to dabble in the creation of a virtual reality based environment.

What is under the hood?

Google Blocks, as it has been very aptly named, just like its Tilt brush application, lets people create stuff on the virtual reality platform. The only differentiation between Tilt brush and Blocks being that the former is for the 2-D space and the later being for the 3-D space. Blocks thereby can be generalized by saying that it is Tilt brush very smoothly infused together to make objects in 3-D Virtual Reality.  

How does this work?

For now, Google Blocks has just been released for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift (mobile users will have to wait as no clarity on a mobile version being developed has been released yet). Blocks work by relying on the motion sensing controllers of both the said headsets.

On the top of the left-hand side controller, Google has overlaid a palette of tools which can be used to create and manipulate a few handfuls and simple 3-D shapes such as spheres, cubes, cones etc. One has to select this shape using the right-hand side controller, and subsequently, implement.

A very short tutorial after, an absolute novice to the virtual reality world can also with a high amount of confidence design a very appropriate snowman, in say, less than two minutes. All one will have to do is select a few spheres, arrange them as per requirement and then apply the necessary colors to them as per choice (here we say a snowman, so white is what we would choose). The rest of the detailing can also very easily be done by using two black cubes to make the eyes, a brown colored cube for the mouth and an orange cone for the nose. Voila… and you have a VR snowman ready!

What’s ahead?

Currently, for Google’s user of Daydream, unfortunately, this is restricted to high-end headsets. These headsets provide a hand control and let the user walk around the creations. But with Google pushing all-in-one Daydream headphones which could match the Rift and Vive’s feature set that might not always be the case.

So no, Blocks is not a killer app. definitely, it is amazing to use, and it’s a marvelous entry to VR. But Jason Toff, Product Manager - Google VR Creativity, wishes someone to develop a killer app using assets they designed in Blocks. “It doesn't even matter if it’s a Google app or another app,” he says. “We just want to push the industry forward.” And even we look forward to any such advanced developments in VR that makes us jaw dropped.

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