So StreetView VR has just arrived for Samsung’s Gear VR headset, and it’s kind of really cool. Even though it wasn’t developed by Google, StreetView VR uses data from Google Street View to create the Gear’s first world-sized free-roaming VR/AR experience.
That VR/AR description is earned from the app’s fluid Wikipedia integration. Wherever you are, you can activate an in-app Wikipedia browser that gives you more information about things that are nearby, all without popping you out of the virtual reality experience. Roam as far as you want, from Iceland to Taipei, and you’ll always find new immersive content to explore.
There are some downsides. Since this pulls from Street View, you’re not getting true depth in these VR images. It’s really more like a massive collection of immersive 360-degree images than true stereoscopic virtual reality. Nevertheless, this lack of depth is more than made up for with the slew of other features. Search for locations using voice controls or a standard virtual keyboard, share a tour with some friends with the built-in voice chat, and toggle directional arrows for navigation in the settings menu.
Google reportedly releasing a rival to Samsung’s Gear VR later this year
All in all, the app is a pretty cool service, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve got a Samsung Gear VR lying around. Give it a spin, then let us know what you think in the comments below!