Researchers at Area 120, an experimental unit of Google, have announced that an advertising format built specifically for use in virtual reality is ready. A glimpse of the prototype of the product was given in an online posting which was co-written by Aayush Upadhyay, Google’s product manager and Neel Rao, Google’s associate project manager. In the blog post the pair indicated that in developing the product the team was guided by the desire to ensure simplicity and minimal disruption.
“Our work focuses on a few key principles — VR ad formats should be easy for developers to implement…and useful and non-intrusive for users,” Upadhyay and Rao said in the blog post.
Floating cube ad
The video demonstrating the prototype showed a cube which was floating inside a virtual reality app. Once the cube is clicked on, a digital ad is activated. The ad can also be activated if the cube is stared at long enough. Developers can try out the prototype using such virtual reality headsets as Samsung Gear VR, DayDream Vr and Google Cardboard. It was not clear though whether the prototype can work on VR platforms from rivals such as Playstation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.
Currently, Facebook and Google are engaged in a race to develop ad technologies that will be applicable in virtual reality. This is on the expectation that numerous virtual reality apps will be created by developers. And with Google deriving most of its revenues from online advertising, it makes sense for the tech giant to explore new frontiers in its bid for growth.
Ad-support VR app development
In the same blog post Upadhyay and Rao indicated that a software developer kit had been released for app creators to use in the creation of virtual reality applications. Upadhyay and Rao’s blog post also suggested that if the experiment turned out to be successful, developers could eventually be able to earn from ads shown in VR apps rather than just selling their apps.
Though advertising in virtual reality applications is still in the early stages, the possibilities have been considered by the ad industry for a long time now. A couple of advertising agencies based in New York’s Madison Avenue have put up labs with a view to experimenting in the VR medium. Progress has been slow, however, because of slow user adoption. A tendency by users to get overwhelmed by the ads has also been noted.