At long last, Google may have revealed one reason it’s putting so much energy into VR with its Daydream platform: The ads! In a new post from the company’s Area 120 creative lab, Google shared plans for how it might design ads that live directly in your field of view. What is Google’s solution for ads that are obtrusive, not but too obtrusive, but definitely still obtrusive?
Behold, the eye bomb. It’s an ad that starts off as a cube but expands to a full video if you look at it for a few moments (or if you click on it). Google explains:
Developers and users have told us they want to avoid disruptive, hard-to-implement ad experiences in VR. So our first idea for a potential format presents a cube to users, with the option to engage with it and then see a video ad. By tapping on the cube or gazing at it for a few seconds, the cube opens a video player where the user can watch, and then easily close, the video.
It looks so small. Cute. Approachable. I know there’s no collar, but this cube would clearly never bite. Oooh, does it spin? Honey, come look at this little cube I found. It’s from Google! They’re always making such nice things, aren’t they? Should I pet it? Why not, right? Oh, and how adorable, the cube has a little friend! Maybe I should just… HOLY MOTHER, WHERE DID THIS GIANT SCREEN COME FROM?? MY EYES, MY EYYYEEEESSS!! I KNOW IT’S A GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3 TEASER, BUT RESIST. CLOSE ALL OF THE TAAAABBBBBSSSSS. ALLLGUHHBCLISHLgffbbbbkkpft…
Google is far from the only company experimenting with how to integrate advertising into VR (Facebook is running its own experiments). But the company now makes $26 billion a quarter off of the advertisements on products like Search, so it makes sense that it–and its competitors–want to experiment with ways to extend that business into the virtual world. We’re going to see a whole lot more of this sort of thing in VR, and probably never, ever less.
Or, as Guy Fleegman put it in Galaxy Quest, “Sure, they’re cute now, but in a second they’re gonna get mean, and they’re gonna get ugly somehow, and there’s gonna be a million more of them.”