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Google Brings VR To Chrome: Here’s How To Browse VR-Ready Sites On Your Phone

10 February 2017, 6:00 am EST By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Microsoft's mixed reality capture studios let people make their own holograms

The next virtual reality arena is poised to invade is the web browser, or more specifically, Chrome.

Google Outfits Chrome With VR Support

Google has announced that people may now view VR content using the Chrome app on Android devices compatible with the company's Daydream View headset, such as the Pixel and Pixel XL.

This marks the first time that such a functionality is being built as part of a stable Chrome build. Thanks to WebVR technology packed in the latest version of Chrome, programmers can now create VR-ready websites. Those into VR should find it pretty compelling that Chrome now natively supports VR experiences, and one can only imagine the possibility of this extending onto other VR headsets, such as Facebook's Oculus Rift VR Headset.

WebVR Makes VR Content Behave Like Websites

WebVR makes it easy for developers to create a VR experience that'll work and translate well across a multitude of VR platforms, instead of laboriously creating separate experiences just to support each one. Think of it as a website that will display properly whatever browser or device is being used to view it. That's the principle underpinning WebVR, as per CNET.

Google developed WebVR in collaboration with Mozilla, the Oculus team at Facebook, and other partners. So far, Mozilla, creator of Firefox, has only enabled WebVR on developer builds of its browser, though it plans to release it widely in the coming months, which entails support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

How To View VR Content Using Chrome And Daydream View Headset

VR content on Chrome will work with Daydream View when used with the Pixel handsets, and it pretty much entails the normal process of sliding in the phone into the headset, wearing it, and partly using motion control for navigation.

Of course, WebVR is pretty much useless if there's no content to gawk at. Luckily, Google has a cache of VR-ready sites that users in possession of a Daydream View headset can take advantage of.

There's Bear 71, an interactive documentary about nature; Matterport, a library brimming with 360-degree environments, including celebrity homes; Within, a roster of VR films; WebVR Lab, a smorgasbord of interactive VR worlds, and SketchFab.

Those who don't have the luxury of owning Daydream View may still partake in this new technology.

"If you don't have a headset you can view VR content on any phone or desktop computer and interact using your finger or mouse," wrote Megan Lindsay, Google's product manager, in a blog post.

Additionally, Google will also make it possible to view VR-ready websites using Cardboard, it's less sophisticated DIY VR headset. Until now, Daydream and Cardboard had been restricted to VR apps, but it's now opening up to Google's widely recognized, browser, which should make accessing VR-ready sites easier.

Of course, given that the technology only supports Daydream View, alongside the desktop version of Chrome, it's obvious that iPhone won't join the fun, but iOS may soon be privy to VR experiences once Google rolls out full cardboard support.

Thrilled for WebVR? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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