Google is reportedly working on a new Android-based virtual reality platform that could put the company well ahead of its competition.
People close to the company have said that Google has "tens of engineers" working on the new virtual reality project.
According to recent reports, Google plans to freely distribute a new virtual reality operating system, much like it does with Android, its mobile operating system. Android is the most popular mobile operating system by a long shot, suggesting that perhaps other virtual reality companies have something to fear in Google.
The project is largely speculative due to the fact that no virtual reality product has really sold in large numbers yet. Despite this, game companies and filmmakers see a lot of promise in the category, with many suggesting that virtual reality is the way of the future.
In fact, virtual reality itself was one of the main highlights of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, with many at the conference waiting hours to try out the Oculus Rift before it is released to the consumer market. A number of other companies were also showing off new virtual reality products.
Google is certainly in a position to be able to dominate the virtual reality space. Apart from the fact that Google has the money to be able to back a new product in an emerging market, the company is not totally new to virtual reality. Previously, Google has released products like Google Cardboard, which allows users to insert their smartphone as a display in a headset. There are a number of Cardboard-compatible apps on the Google Play Store, however many suggest that the platform could really take off if there were more apps. Google has likely learned a lot through the development of Cardboard, which could be the reasoning behind its new virtual reality system.
There are a number of players in the virtual reality space. Facebook is an obvious player, being the owner of Oculus VR, the company behind the highly anticipated Oculus Rift. Sony also recently entered the market, unveiling Project Morpheus, poised to compete against the likes of the Oculus Rift. Samsung is also a potential leader in the market, being behind Gear VR, as is Microsoft with its upcoming HoloLens. Clearly, Google does not want to be left behind.
Google has also expressed interest in augmented reality by funding Magic Leap, a startup that is developing an augmented reality wearable system. Google is also behind Project Tango, which is a camera that can create a 3D map of the user's surroundings, and of course it is behind Google Glass.