Google Film, Case study Earth Vr by Google Mountain View

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Earth Vr

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Industry Mobile applications
Media Film, Case study
Market United States
Agency Google Mountain View
Designer Tarik Abdel-Gawad
Producer Trevor Haimes, Todd Shaiman
Editor Ashley Rodholm
Released February 2017


Lions Innovation 2017
Innovation Innovation: Innovative Technology Bronze Lion

Credits & Description

Title: Earth Vr
Agency: Google
Brand: Google Inc.
Country: USA
Entrant Company: Google, Mountain View
Advertising Agency: Google, Mountain View
Pr Agency: Google, Mountain View
Production Company: Google, Mountain View
Staff Software Engineer: Dominik Kaeser (Google Inc.)
Senior Staff Software Engineer: Evan Parker (Google Inc.)
Product Manager: Mike Podwal (Google Inc.)
Designer: Tarik Abdel-Gawad (Google Inc.)
Composer: Pran Bandi (Antfood)
Software Engineer: Chun-po Wang (Google)
Software Engineer: Nadav Ashkenazi (Google Inc.)
Software Engineer: Matthias Buhlmann (Mabulous)
Software Engineer: Matt Seegmiller (Google Inc.)
Software Engineer: Per Karlsson (Google Inc.)
User Experience Designer: Adam Glazier (Google Inc.)
Senior Software Engineer: Julius Kammerl (Google Inc.)
Product Manager: Joanna Kim (Google Inc.)
User Experience Designer: Andre Le (Google Inc.)
Partner: Wilson Brown (Antfood)
Composer: Spencer Casey (Antfood)
Composer: Richard Devine (Richard Devine Music)
Software Engineer: Brendan Duncan (Google Inc.)
Composer: Yuta Endo (Antfood)
Producer: Trevor Haimes (Antfood)
Composer: Dalton Harts (Antfood)
Partner: Sean Mcgovern (Antfood)
Composer: Joshua Moshier (Thornapple Music)
Software Engineer: Aleksandr Palatnik (Google Inc.)
Editor: Ashley Rodholm (Even/Odd)
Producer: Todd Shaiman (Google Inc.)
The world has so many beautiful and amazing places to visit. If we're lucky, we're able to travel and see a few of them. But even the most active travelers can only see a fraction. What if we could see them all? Ten years ago, Google Earth began as an effort to help people everywhere explore our planet. And now, with more than two billion downloads, many have. Google Earth VR is the next step to help the world see the world using the latest virtual reality technologies.
Critical and user reception has been very positive, with many news outlets and VR enthusiasts calling it VR’s Killer app (Ars Technica: "VR’s killer app has arrived, and it’s Google Earth"; Voices of VR (@kentbye): "@googlevr's Earth VR is one of the most mind-blowing VR apps I've done so far. It's the first killer app for VR & amazing engineering feat.") Earth VR recently won a Lumiere award, specifically the Century award (only given once previously to Avatar) for raising environmental awareness.Earth VR maintains an "Overwhelmingly positive" rating in the Steam Store, the store's highest rating.
Earth VR is a virtual reality app for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. It allows the user to travel to anywhere on the planet and feel like they are actually there. The app is publicly available for free on Windows through Steam or Oculus Store.To enable create Earth VR, the team had to solve many technical challenges. 3D assets needed to be adaptive (i.e. created by code, not artists) but integrated in such a way that performance did not suffer and subsequently give users motion sickness. The team also had to work to carefully balance feedback from three different senses: touch, sight, and sound.
The original Google Earth was first released in 2005. Combining satellite imagery with advanced imaging techniques made it possible to visit anywhere in the world from a desktop computer. Over the years, Earth has come to the web and mobile phones.When virtual reality starting making its resurgence in 2014, members of the Earth team began experimenting with bring Earth to VR. Starting with Cardboard (in fact, members of the Earth VR team built one of the first demos for Cardboard), the Earth team began working on bringing Earth to VR.Incredible technical challenges followed. To begin, virtual reality apps need to run at a very high performance (90 frames per second), yet rendering the earth can require trillions of calculations. Additionally, allowing the user to move freely around the world can literally make them sick. New rendering techniques and new interaction patterns were created to solve these challenges.
Campaign Description:
The Google Earth team has always aimed to help the world see the world. Virtual reality presented a new opportunity to let people actually feel like they were somewhere else.The idea started with a prototype for Google Cardboard. While successful, to deliver on the promise, the project had to move to desktop PC-based VR systems that allowed the user to walk while inOne insight in this process occurred when the lead engineer accidentally made the user about 200-times human size. This allowed for traversal of huge areas as a giant.Another insight, was that the planet is full of sights AND sounds. Custom soundtracks were added to places to make them come alive. In cities you can hear traffic, on mountain tops you can hear the wind.Along the way, huge technical challenges had to be solved primarily around performance and maintaining user comfort.