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Screenshot by Axios

While virtual reality lets you go to Mars, attend a sporting event or concert or tour a refugee camp, it is often a pretty lonely journey limited to the one person wearing a headset. Google hopes to change this.

At its I/O conference on Thursday the company announced a few new ways it is making virtual and augmented reality efforts a more social experience.

Among its announcements:

  • The ability to use Google Cast to simultaneously share what you are seeing on VR headset with others on a nearby TV.
  • An option to share screenshots or short videos from a VR experience on social media or via messaging.
  • An update to YouTube VR that will let people gather together in a virtual room to watch a YouTube video together and chat.

Also: Google detailed the next version of its Daydream software, known as Euphrades, will support standalone VR headsets from partners. The first two, from HTC and Lenovo, are due out at the end of this year. Meanwhile, on the augmented reality front, the next Project Tango-capable phone, the ZenFone AR, is coming from Asus and will be sold by Verizon starting this summer. And it is finally bringing its Chrome browser into VR later this year.

Go deeper

School enrollment fell by almost 3 million from 2019 to 2020

Kindergarten student Natalia Bayoumi holds the hand of her father Amir Bayoumi as he walks to the front door of Normont Elementary School in Harbor City, CA. Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The number of individuals enrolled in the U.S. education system dropped by 2.9 million from 2019 to 2020, according to new data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Why it matters: This marks the lowest level of school enrollment for those under 35 years-old in over 20 years, per the Census Bureau.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against U.S. workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Google's Pixel 6 bets on better cameras, homegrown chip

Image: Google

Google's latest Pixel phones, announced Tuesday, pack a lot more than just a new processor, although the Tensor chip is a key to many of the new features.

Between the lines: Google has been in the smartphone business for years, but with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it is finally striking out in a unique direction.