Digital entertainment might be the first testing ground for any new technology, but it still tends to spread quickly to other more useful (or more moneymaking) sectors. In the case of virtual reality, it’s already become more than established in fields like medicine and education. And it’s exactly in the latter where Expeditions fits in, as a new Android app from Google that can take you on virtual group tours. What’s more, these virtual visits can be led by a guide who points out and tells you all about points of interest.
The app lets you access more than 100 locations that you can explore via 360º images. There’s monuments, landscapes and seascapes, and other points of interest of all sorts. Each has a series of key points (called scenes in the app) that include a full description of the highlighted areas. This info serves to help you take better advantage of the app’s guide/explorer system.
When you log into Expeditions you can either be a “trip guide” or just a spectator. The main difference is that guides can use an onscreen virtual pointer to show specific elements to other users connected as explorers. Explorers can also view the scene either in 2D mode, like on a Streetview scroll screen (in fact it uses the same technology), or using a home VR system like the economic cardboards system.
This association is made by connecting all users to the same WiFi network, and when you connect as an explorer you can join an active guided route created by a user who’s logged on as a guide. The guide sees the list of connected explorers and even the place they’re looking in the virtual scene.