NYC TV Week: VR a Game-Changer in News, Entertainment, Marketing

It’s early days of virtual reality, says Google Play exec, but the future is here

Complete Coverage: NYC Television Week

Lisa Martinez Gilpin, global head of news and publishing at Google Play, broke down the attributes of both virtual reality and augmented reality at the VR 20/20 opening session, and spelled out the roles both will play in the media going forward. Augmented reality (AR) offers the user a “push and pull kind of dynamic,” she said, whereas virtual reality (VR) is more immersive.

Martinez Gilpin detailed Google’s history in VR, including Google Cardboard in 2014, which she described as “simple with a lot of meaning.” She said a New York Times partnership a year later delivered over a million Cardboard viewers to Times subscribers.

“Talk about coming into a really personal space,” she said. “We’re right there at your front door.”

Next was Daydream, offering a more breathable material than Cardboard. “There’s lots of great content to snack on,” said Martinez Gilpin, “as well as episodic content.”

VR 20/20 is happening at the Stewart Hotel in Manhattan.

Martinez Gilpin said VR has a significant role in realms as varied as news and commerce. She spoke of “educating journalists to user VR cameras to tell their stories.”

Martinez Gilpin talked of ARCore, a platform for augmented reality apps. She described AR’s role in helping a consumer virtually try on clothing, or see how a coffee table fits in a family room, or check out a new car in different colors.

Google’s Visual Positioning Service (VPS) can offer on-the-go consumers a look at a store’s layout before they visit. “It’s a great way to think about user flow,” she said, “and where products sit in store.”

VR, and AR, are part of the present, Martinez Gilpin suggested, not the future. “What used to take months now takes hours from a production standpoint,” she said. “It’s a lot more seamless and frictionless.”