You Can Now Take a Really Boring Virtual Reality Tour of the White House

“Tour the White House in virtual reality.” That sounds unbelievably cool, but maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s really not that exciting.


Just posted to YouTube, this new 360 video guides you through a tour of the White House’s holiday decorations. If you don’t have a Google Cardboard viewer, you can just drag the video around with your mouse to get an idea. The It’s blurry and the information is so whatever. I don’t care about the plates Michelle Obama picked out for the holidays. Sorry.

Between Cardboard and its new Jump platform for making 360 video, Google has been throwing down hard on virtual reality development. Which is great. The potential of virtual reality to transport you to other dimensions and exotic locations is exciting. The White House is a place plenty of people will never go and a virtual tour is theoretically enlightening. Unfortunately, this video sort of feels like you’re a 10-year-old being dragged down the corridors by an underpaid tour guide. Maybe I’m cynical. Ok, I’m cynical. But this could have been amazing. One day, when the tools to create virtual reality are better—and more people know how to create high-quality experiences—it will be.

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Surprise, being there in “real” reality isn’t that exciting either.. I was there a few years ago and the building really shows its age up close: from cracking/peeling paint on the exterior to that old farmhouse/museum exhibit smell, ancient creaking hardwood floorboards and antique furniture that again, really shows its age when viewed up close, there’s nothing to really write home about, except maybe the one stupid guy who had his camcorder out and was trying to take video despite being told very clearly, multiple times, before even setting foot over the threshold, that photography of any kind was not permitted..

What *would* have been exciting would have been to follow the guy and see what happened to him after the Secret Service Agent spotted him and said “Please come over here, sir”..