Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 pm30 3:13pm

The Inside Story of Google’s Daydream, Where VR Feels Like Home

A few minutes after Google CEO Sundar Pichai finished speaking to the crowd at a Google developer conference one sunny June morning in 2014, Jon Wiley made his way over to a newly unveiled booth inside San Francisco’s Moscone conference center, where the event was being held. He’d been struck by something near the end of Pichai’s remarks. Pichai had mentioned, almost in passing, that everyone in the audience would be getting something called Cardboard. It had something to do with virtual reality.

This was the first Wiley had heard of the project, or anything having to do with Google and VR. You might think he’d get some early notice, since he’s one of the company’s most celebrated and long-tenured designers, perhaps the person most responsible for the Overall Google Aesthetic. But you’d be wrong. So he waded through the scrum at the Cardboard booth, grabbed a headset, and tried a few demos. He doesn’t remember now why he had a friend take a video, but he’s glad that he did. After a few minutes, he walked away and kept doing what he was actually at I/O to do: extol the virtues of Google’s new material design guidelines. But Wiley couldn’t stop thinking about Cardboard.