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The Inside Story of Google's Bizarre Plunge Into VR

June 1, 2015 | Telepresence Options

Google_Cardboard_virtual_reality_headset

Story and images by Cade Metz / Wired

DAVID COZ WORKED in Google's Paris office, but what he really wanted was a job at the mothership in Silicon Valley.

Last spring, the French-born Coz turned up at Google headquarters in Mountain View hoping to chat about his latest project with anyone who would listen. "I came with my prototype and my luggage," he says, "and I met with 10 or 15 people." One of them was Christian Plagemann, a Google research scientist exploring new interfaces for consumer electronics devices. Though they'd never met, Coz showed him the prototype: a pair of virtual reality goggles made out of cardboard.

Plagemann was intrigued--"David showed me this cardboard box," he says, "and I thought it was absolutely amazing"--and he took the contraption to Google's bigwigs, including CEO Larry Page and vice president of engineering Sundar Pichai. "I convinced him to leave me one of the boxes. He flew back to Paris. And I started showing it around," Plagemann remembers.

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