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5 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Is The Next Big Thing

5 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Is The Next Big Thing

There’s a lot of buzz going on about virtual reality (VR). There are articles popping up in the news and a lot of general excitement. With smartphone-compatible versions of VR, like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, already on the market, as well as the recent pre-release of the Oculus Rift and the imminent arrival of the HTC Vive, one thing is certain: virtual reality is coming.

Although many have forecasted VR’s categorical success, others are not so certain about it. Some naysayers have even predicted that VR will be a complete flop, saying it’s doomed to the same fate as 3D TV.

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The biggest problem with 3D TV was that there simply wasn’t enough content to persuade mainstream consumers to go out and buy expensive new TV sets (not to mention that the technology was imperfect at best…). It always remained a niche venture. But this is just not the case with VR. As I write these sentences, even before Oculus Rift, the first dedicated, full-fledged VR headset, becomes generally available to consumers, there are already tons of really cool applications in all sorts of domains, not just gaming. Here are five of the the best.

1. You can teleport yourself just about anywhere in the world and feel as if you’re really there using the new Google Street View VR app

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been to Paris, and the truth is that walking down Boulevard Saint Michel in real life still beats any approximation to that experience that you can have with an HD screen. However, short of actually purchasing an $800 round-trip ticket to Europe, the Google Street View VR app (currently available for android devices using Google Cardboard or Gear VR) is about as realistic and genuine an experience as you can have in another city. Even with regular old Street View, I enjoy “exploring” foreign cities from behind my laptop’s screen – I think most of us appreciate how close we are brought to faraway places with those panoramic images, and being able to rotate around was part of that.

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Well, the 360º VR functionality is a step up from traditional Street View. Here, you get to freely zip through city streets, getting a real feel for their spaces and places. But unlike the Street View we’re accustomed to, the VR function lets you really focus on small details you might otherwise miss, since you are completely immersed in the experience. And that’s the magic it offers: unlike staring at your computer screen, where you never lose sight of the fact that you are, in fact, sitting in your living room, Street View VR is so immersive that you become aware only of your virtual surroundings.

2. You can watch movies on a 140-foot screen on the moon

Oculus Cinema is an app that lets you watch movies and other video content as though you were in a movie theater, an IMAX theater, or on the moon. The light from the movie screen bounces off moon rocks around you, and if you turn to your right, you’ll see the Apollo moon lander (which, of course, explains how it is that you came to be binge watching your new favorite series on the moon).

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This is really cool because it accurately recreates the cozy feeling of being in a theater while specifically focussing on watching a movie. Much like in a theater, it’s dark around you and you can’t glance down at your phone to check the game scores – which is what is cool about the cinema in the first place: escaping our mundane existences and diving into the movie’s story. Also, Oculus has just announced that friends are coming to the oculus cinema; they are adding a social function to the app which will let your friends sit in the same theater (or part of the moon) as you while you watch the movie, thereby overcoming some of the loneliness of VR.

3. You can attend live shows, like the filming of SNL

One of the things I most enjoy when I go to any live performance is turning around, right in the middle of the show, and watching other spectators watch the show. It’s just part of the magic of being there. For its 40th anniversary special episode, Saturday Night Live recently placed a 360º camera inside Studio 8H so that people with an android phone and Google Cardboard could watch Will Ferrell play Alex Trebek in “Celebrity Jeopardy” in VR. They could also turn around and scrutinize the cameramen or members of the audience, which included Michael Douglas, John Goodman, James Franco, Larry David, Tim Meadows, Dakota Johnson, and Sarah Palin. This sort of VR application really does add a dimension to SNL (and other live shows) that was previously reserved for people who were lucky enough to actually attend live sessions.

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4. You can interact with people in an entirely new social network: AltspaceVR

Released just a few days ago, AltspaceVR lets you share and really interact with other people within virtual reality spaces. Whether you’re playing chess or sitting in a warm cabin in a virtual winter wonderland, this new platform lets you have shared experiences with people that may be thousands of miles away. Ultimately, the basis of friendship is the possibility of talking, having common experiences, playing together, and hanging out. AltspaceVR taps into that, and thus truly unleashes an enormous potential for VR socializing. This is still in its early stages, but it’s paving the way for a social network revolution.

5. You can be in the game instead of just looking at the game (and get some exercise!)

I like watching the Tour de France. Also, I should exercise more – shouldn’t we all? Put these two together and you get things like VirZoom and Activainment’s ebove B

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Eric Lancheres

Entrepreneur

5 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Is The Next Big Thing

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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