It’s no secret that computer technology is moving ahead faster than we could have even imagined 20 years ago. The massive changes that are happening with the new processors and systems have made the virtual world a completely different landscape…and it keeps recreating itself. There’s no better vision of what is coming than Google’s annual I/O conference this year.

The main keys to Google’s futuristic computer tech are augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These two systems hold a huge potential to how the next gen computer schema will look, according to the tech giant. The company is hoping that both divisions will have a major play in the market in unique ways in the coming years.

In the AR world, Google is working on news ways that computing, and especially mobile information, is used to help make life simpler in the real world. They’ve offered a new system called Google Lens which offers in depth information into the items that your camera is pointing at. For example, if you’re in search for a new restaurant, just point your phone’s camera at a local eatery, and Google will instantly connect you to reviews and commentary to help make the decision. The system can also lead you the exact shelf where a specific bolt is in Home Depot. Search systems like this – that offer valuable information intuitively – may or may not be successful for Google. But the tech firm will certainly have something to offer this coming year. Consumers may react just as they did with Google Glass – basically ignoring it – or they may react like they did with Android – consuming it voraciously. Regardless, the system will continue to spin off fascinating iterations as it moves ahead.

In the VR world, Google has already set itself apart from the other players by offering a ridiculously cheap and user friendly VR headset made of cardboard. The system is so simple that it’s caught on rapidly, and at $15, the headset is the Model T of the VR world. But at the I/O conference Google announced that they will release a completely stand-alone headset – wire and smartphone free. Everything you need to maximize a VR experience is fully contained in the headset.

Some have argued that the middle of the road system – more expensive than the cardboard, but less cool than a full Sony or Oculus system – might fall through the VR cracks by missing the market all together. But that’s a risk Google can afford to take. With the tech, the audience, the data from the search engines, and a huge captured audience, Google thinks it has something worth betting on.

The complexity of the new systems is undeniable. And with Google’s recent I/O conference, it seems they are riding on the front of that wave, seeking to bring AR and VR into the general computing populace. Whether it succeeds or fails, Google has a lot to teach us about innovation, corporate inertia, and the power of market knowledge.

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