Google Cardboard, the inexpensive virtual reality kit that you can drop a phone into, has gotten another cool use today for those lucky enough to own one. You can now check out select locations in Street View as if you are really there. Google considers it more of an easter egg than a feature, likely because the amount of folks who can take advantage of it is very limited. For that reason, the only way to access the view is by double tapping the “look around” button while you’re in Street View.
Google Cardboard is Google’s dirt-cheap, increasingly popular virtual reality “headset.” Street View is Google Maps’ virtual tour of zillions of different locations. Light bulb! A new feature (actually, an Easter Egg, according to Google) in the Google Maps app turns Street View into Google Cardboard View, effectively letting you roam the streets of wherever in full VR mode. You’ll need to make sure you’ve updated both your Google Cardboard and Google Maps apps. Then, run the latter and switch to Street View for any location that offers it. Double-tap the Look Around icon (in the lower-right corner) and the app will switch to the side-by-side, stereoscopic imagery needed for Google Cardboard. Now you can have a seriously cool look around. Meanwhile, Google has added a dedicated Cardboard page to the Google Play Store, a place to find all the latest and greatest compatible apps. That includes the recent Paul McCartney concert app (still one of my favorites), a new Hobbit VR app that ties to the new movie, and what may be the best Cardboard game yet: Lamper. (Keep the Dramamine handy.)