“…traveling within the app can become addictive.”
Things You Might Need
- Gear VR
- Headphones or Earphones
Software Name: StreetView VR
Age Rating: Family Friendly
System: Gear VR
Controller Use: Not Required
Explore the world in Virtual Reality. Includes Speech recognition for searching, voicechat enabled group exploration, Wikipedia integration, multiple navigation modes and more. This app uses data from Google StreetView but is not an official Google product.
What is it?
If it wasn’t so boring and repetitive I could start every VR app review with “Imagine!”. Isn’t that what VR is all about? To delve into an imaginary world, to do things one couldn’t do in the real world? Streetview VR is just that. It gives you the opportunity to travel the world, to see stunning places and all that without leaving your living room. Google’s StreetView app was one of the main reasons why I got into VR. I bought my first Google cardboard, because I wanted to travel the world virtually. When I got my Samsung Gear VR I missed that a bit, since there was no native StreetView app available. Of course I could disable the Oculus software so it wouldn’t launch when I plugged my phone into the Gear VR and thus use the Streetview app just like on my cardboard, but it was a bit of a hassle and the experience was just not on par with the rest of what my sophisticated Gear VR had to offer. And then I stumbled over StreetView VR. It is all I could’ve wished for in a native Oculus StreetView app.
What is it like?
Extremely well executed. That sort of sums it up. The guys over at Youtopia VR have done a magnificent job. It accesses the entire Google StreetView content which is huge. It doesn’t stop there though. There is Wikipedia integration which gives you interesting additional information. If you don’t feel like traveling the world alone, why not make it a group holiday? Invite friends to the integrated chat and show them around. The use cases are endless. For couch potatoes like me it means traveling the world without moving, but maybe you are the more active type? Then you could use StreetView VR to plan your next RL trip.
How easy is it to use?
When first starting StreetView VR you get a short tutorial how to use it and it’s very easy and intuitive. You can teleport to the next image by a tap on the touchpad, use voice search to go to a new location or open a map where you can choose any place you like via voice or virtual keypad. The map is also the main menu where you can access other nifty features. The above mentioned Wikipedia integration is cool, but even better is the group chat. You can join public chats (not available very often), open your own public chat or make it private and just invite friends. How about going scuba diving at the Barrier Reef with some mates, or doing some trekking in the Grand Canyon with your best mate without getting off your sofa?
This is one of my favourite apps on my Gear VR. It’s so much more than just having a look at pretty StreetView pictures. You feel like you’re really there. The immersion is incredible, it’s fun and traveling within the app can become addictive. The chat feature gives it a welcome social aspect too. This should be near the very top of your app list.