The movie business has always been an industry of change, from its silent movie beginnings, through the introduction of “talkies” and color film, to today’s digital world, Hollywood has been on the forefront of new technologies in production and distribution countless times. Meanwhile, like the film industry, Google has been a leader of evolving tech. The company has revolutionized the search engine, email, digital maps, and video streaming. Their technology has also changed industries such as healthcare and travel.
So it's no surprise that Google and the movie industry are linked to each other, innovating new and exciting methods of creating and distributing entertainment. Directors are using Google technology during film production and offering streamed original movies and television online to devices around the world. How else is Google technology changing the movie industry? Let’s find out.
Google Technology in the Director’s Chair
One of Google’s forays into movie technology is a new software tool called Seurat. According to Google Developer, Seurat is designed to take high-end, film-quality 3D scenes and turn them into something that can run on mobile hardware.
The Verge relates one recent example of how Google technology is changing the movie industry. IMXLAB at Lucasfilm recently partnered with Google to create a virtual reality system that uses high-resolution digital video (such as from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) and reconfigured it for use with Google’s VR WorldSense headset.
According to TechCrunch, Seurat incorporates all viewpoints from a potential VR user and eliminates any non-reality elements within the 3D environment. Those areas are ones that the user can’t see but can interfere with the user’s experience. It removes something called “object permanence,” which is the concept that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be perceived. Seurat creates a “virtual reality cleaning effect” so the program uses fewer resources to render the video in VR. Google is hoping that this technology will be able to take a high-resolution video of any type and create a seamless virtual experience for the user.
YouTube Red Originals
On November 13, 2006, Google announced that it was buying a burgeoning online streaming company called YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. It was a watershed moment for the worldwide web, as the new technology platform quickly became the behemoth we know today, racking up 250 million hours of TV time daily.
It may have been inevitable that Google would take advantage of all those eyeballs to work with Hollywood to produce original content for online streaming rather than movie theatres. YouTube’s Red Originals has been operational since late 2015.
For a monthly fee of $10, subscribers skip advertising on YouTube, as well as gain access to original programming. This includes feature-length films like “Lazer Team” and reality-style shows like “Escape the Night” and the very popular “Cobra Kai,” a TV spinoff of “The Karate Kid” with Ralph Macchio. YouTube Red recently partnered with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele on “Weird City,” a comedy/science fiction anthology web television series that premiered in early 2019.
YouTube is gradually moving to a hybrid subscription/free model used by competitors like Hulu, CBS All Access, and new streaming services from Apple and Disney. Examples include a Devi Lovato documentary and Will Smith’s reality-style programming that were originally designed to play behind YouTube’s firewall, but were offered for free instead.
With YouTube taking much of the subscription-based content and moving it to their free platform for anyone to view, they've also pulled back their commitment to scripted programming. They intend to continue partnerships with the film industry and Hollywood but downsize their commitment to larger productions while remaining the top spot for media influencers and digital marketers.
Google Technology Outside of Tinseltown
It’s worth noting some of Google’s technologies outside of the movie industry. After all, driving to the movies in driverless cars and paying for popcorn with our mobile devices is still pretty awesome, isn't it? Indeed, Google’s forays into multiple technology vertices like mobile payment systems, transportation, and healthcare by using some of the aforementioned VR technology used in Seurat is changing not only our entertainment options but also our daily lives.
According to Merchant Machine in the U.K., it's estimated that the transaction value of mobile payment apps will reach nearly $14 trillion by 2022. Expect those numbers to continue to grow as more U.S. customers become comfortable with mobile transaction technology.
Google engineers are also working in the healthcare industry, using advanced technologies to harness big data analysis solutions for healthcare providers. For example, Google’s DeepMind technology will be able to take AI-based programming models to predict when life-saving procedures will be needed, based on predictive analytics. It also aims to compile records from multiple hospital IT systems and put them into one place online. This allows clinicians to identify a patient’s clinical needs quickly and perform life-saving procedures with complete medical records available.
Google Technology in Movies and More
How is Google technology changing the movie industry? With their commitment to research and development of new VR computer systems like Seurat, experimenting with scripted and reality programming with YouTube Red Originals, and investment in mobile transaction systems and AI technologies, Google is changing the movie industry and so much more.
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