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Five questions for Google to answer at its big I/O conference

Blair Hanley Frank | May 18, 2016
What's next for Google?

What does it have planned for virtual reality?

Google has been making some serious moves in the virtual reality realm. Amit Singh, the company’s former head of Google for Work, announced last week that he was switching his focus to virtual reality. The company’s former head of Android PR has moved over to the virtual reality side of the house, too.

It’s clear that Google is planning to make some big moves in that space. The company just quietly added VR support to its YouTube app for iPhones, so Apple smartphone users can watch videos through a Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer. It’s rumored to be working on an “Android VR” product, though exactly what that will do isn’t yet known.

VR is big business these days, with companies including Facebook, Samsung and HTC working on virtual reality hardware. Especially with its background in Android and YouTube, Google seems well-suited to become an even bigger player in the VR market than it is already.

Why in the world are we outside?

Google’s guide to the conference suggests that attendees bring both sunscreen and a light jacket, since we’ll be outside all day for the sessions. Unlike past years’ conferences that were set inside convention centers, the company is hosting this year’s I/O outdoors at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

It’s not yet clear why that’s the case, though. Observers have speculated that there might be some sort of aerial display with drones taking place, but the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t posted any advisories for the event.

Shoreline is also right by Google’s offices in Mountain View, so other people have guessed that there could be something afoot with the company’s self-driving cars. Or maybe Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin just want to work on their tans.

 

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