In a Google blog post today by Clay Bavor, Google’s new VP of VR, the company detailed a few quick stats on the company’s Cardboard program. This interestingly comes at a time when it’s clear Google is looking to further emphasize virtual reality and augmented reality from a hardware perspective through recent moves.
Nevertheless, Google took some time today to pause and look at where it was 19 months after launching the program for a bare bones virtual reality viewing experience.
Over five million Google Cardboard viewers have been shipped globally. These come in all shapes and sizes, the NYT Cardboard, the Star Wars Cardboard, Mattel Cardboard etc. Google has effectively invaded the VR scene and given people something to say “wow” about with what is now in many ways an iconic product.
Another milestone is that there have now been more than 25 million downloads of VR compatible apps, and that figure is just from the Google Play store. Google’s first wave of VR has left the company acting as more of an enabler of experiences than a provider of them, we’ll see how that shifts in the future but for the time being it seems it’s being successful at what it has sought to do.
Another interesting stat released is that nearly 350 thousand hours of YouTube content have been watched in Cardboard viewing mode. That’s another number you can expect to see increase; YouTube just hired a former Jaunt exec to act as their “Global Virtual Reality Evangelist.” In a similar vein of content viewing, the company also detailed that nearly 750 thousand VR photos had been taken with the Cardboard Camera.
Perhaps one of the coolest things Google is doing right now are its VR educational experiences. Today, Google detailed that 500,000 students had gone on these virtual reality expeditions, which are sure to not be their last experiences with VR in the classroom.
It will be interesting to see where Cardboard heads from here, and more importantly at what point it is shoved to the side in favor of Google creating its own sophisticated VR experiences on perhaps its own hardware.