If you are not traveling to Brazil for the Summer Olympics, you can still explore the geography and culture of Rio de Janeiro, courtesy of Google.


Rio: Beyond the Map, released to the public July 29, deftly blends archival materials with stunning video, interactive media and profiles of artistic Cariocas, as natives of Rio de Janeiro are called.

The project’s title alludes to Rio’s favelas, the poorly mapped neighborhoods where 1.4 million people, or 20 percent of the city’s population, live without addresses, according to Google’s blog post about the project. Mapping these regions is part of another Google initiative, the “On the Map” project. [14 Strangest Sights on Google Earth]

In a historic first for Virtual Reality, the 2016 Olympics will be broadcast in virtual reality. More than eighty events will be viewable in VR. Viewers will be able to watch the events on a standard Mobile VR HMD such as the GearVR, or with a full-feature VR headset. The content is not being live-streamed. There will be a delay of at least one day, according to NBC.

This is just another major milestone for the VR industry’s growth. The new media is changing the video content ecosystem, one event at a time. In the past year, many other sports events have been broadcast in Virtual Reality, including some of the best LIVE broadcasts by NEXTVR, who streamed the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, and the MLB Home Run Derby in VR.
Presently, the content has practically no advertising. But as the audience grows, advertisers will certainly follow. Limited by their inability to produce VR in house, many marketers and agencies will soon be racing to produce content for consumption in VR and placement into this type of experience. Imagine watching a Hockey Game, and during time-outs there is a VR Snowboarding ad. That is where the industry is going.

We look forward to being a part of it.