YouTube has officially begun supporting 360-degree video in its mobile and Web platforms as well as apps to accommodate the growing interest in virtual reality.
The move is a smart one considering the uprise of platforms like Google Cardboard. 360-degree video will be supported on the Android app as well as on the actual YouTube website.
"You could let viewers see the stage and the crowd of your concert, the sky and the ground as you wingsuit glide, or you could even have a choose-your-own-adventure video where people see a different story depending on where they look," said Google in a statement. "Only you know what's possible. That's why today we are starting to support 360-degree video uploads on YouTube, to continue giving you all the best resources to connect with your viewers."
Not only is YouTube going to support 360-degree video itself, but Google is also working with a number of different cameras and camera manufacturers, such as Bublcam, Kodak's SP360 and more, to allow for easy uploading of 360-degree content to YouTube. Google plans to offer more features to YouTube to better support 360-degree video, such as automatic detecting, a number of filters and better search abilities to find 360-degree content.
Automatic detection of 360-degree content will be important in the future as users are currently required to run a script on their video to ensure it has the right metadata, which alerts YouTube that it's a 360-degree video.
On mobile, users are able to simply move their smartphone around to shift view of a video. On desktop, there is a small dial that allows users to move the point of view around.
Of course, there are currently very few videos filmed in 360-degree format, but this is more than likely to change in the near future, given the fact that more 360-degree cameras are set to hit the market soon.
Virtual reality has been taking off, particularly during the past year. Google itself has made other moves in the field, such as with Google Cardboard, which is essentially a viewer for people to use their smartphone as a virtual reality display. Many expect this type of smartphone use to be the future of virtual reality in contrast to dedicated virtual reality headsets such as the upcoming Oculus Rift.