AR and VR took center stage at Google’s I/O developer event this week. Highlights included a new standalone headset built by HTC with inside-out positional tracking, more daydream compatible phones and lots of Tango updates (full video below).

These announcements span the range of VR and AR, prompting Google to introduce a term to rule the spectrum: “immersive computing.” We like the term, however it does add to the alphabet soup of industry vocab (mixed reality, merged reality, etc.)

“To us, these terms don’t represent separate and distinct things,” said google’s immersive computing lead Clay Bavor. “They’re just labels for different points on a spectrum.”

For Google, at least the new term isn’t just marketing. An umbrella term aligns with the fact that it is indeed converging the technologies. The computer vision and room mapping in Tango will power the positional tracking of new standalone VR units.

Lastly, speaking of Tango, Google announced a new indoor positioning system to fuel AR interfaces. Known as Visual Positioning Service (VPS) it’s a GPS-like value proposition for finding things in indoor spaces like Retail.

“GPS can get you to the door, and then VPS can get you to the exact item that you’re looking for,” said Bavor in the event’s opening keynote. “Imagine in the future your phone could just take you to that exact screwdriver and point it out to you on the shelf.”

This is a vision we’ve been examining for years, through the work of innovators in indoor mapping like Aisle411. Tango’s room mapping and depth sensing brings new life to the field and will be among AR’s biggest killer apps we believe.

See the video below from the Google I/O day-2 dedicated drill down session on VR and AR.

For a deeper dive on AR & VR insights, see ARtillry’s new intelligence subscription, and sign up for the free ARtillry Weekly newsletter. 

Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this article, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.

Header image credit: YouTube