It’s about now that I wish I’d spent time developing a strong YouTube presence rather than developing a company or having a life. Google is looking for YouTube stars to test out their new Jump rig, which is essentially 16 GoPro cameras bolted onto a lazy Susan with software to stitch the video together into a 360 experience. It’s not quite true VR, but it’s an interesting, relatively low budget way of moving the concept forward.
What Google’s doing, in true Google form, is asking end users like you or me to fill out an application form to be one of those early creators. There’s a bio section, a short questionnaire and the all-important essay section, where no doubt bearded hipsters and their female equivalents will try to pitch the perfect combination of approachable elitism and cuteness we have come to expect from things like Google commercials. There will be hundreds wanting to take the rig up in a plane and jump out; there will probably be virtual safaris and virtual tea ceremonies and kittens.
Since I don’t have nearly enough social juice to qualify, I’ll save my breath to cool my porridge (as my dear mother would say). But here’s what I’d apply for:
I’d put the rig on a shoulder-mounted harness and go visit places like Rio at peak Mardi Gras, or the Red Light district in Amsterdam or Bangkok. I’d strap a rig to a Seal team member doing ISIS interdiction. I’d cut a deal with a leading NASCAR or F1 team and follow an entire race season. Let’s put a rig on the pitcher’s mound at Yankee stadium. Sure, I’d base jump and water ski with it, but I’d also put it on the Dakar Rally and tour the Vatican and Machu Picchu. Let’s get a rig on the set of Game of Thrones and let’s see how that gets put together.
Then I’d make every adventure available online as they happen. Anything that gets VR moving into our mass consciousness has got to be a good thing. Let’s not waste cycles being cute and elitist; let’s get the people what they are actually interested in ASAP. A bread and circuses approach, which plugs right into the things which we already care about enough to buy season tickets and airfares to do will move the dial much quicker. Google, please let’s not be Silicon Hipsters about this. Let’s do something that people actually care about.