You can now experience virtual reality on the web with Google's latest version of the Chrome browser.
Chrome now includes WebVR, a set of technologies for interacting with virtual-reality content in the browser. For VR developers, WebVR holds the promise of building a single web app to reach different headsets and browsers, rather than having write a different app for each platform. The new feature follows the December release of WebVR in the Chrome Android beta.
"With the latest version of Chrome, we're bringing VR to the web, making it as easy to step inside Air Force One as it is to access your favorite webpage," says Chrome product manager Lindsay Megan.
For now, users will need to have a Daydream Android phone, such as Google's Pixel, or Google's Daydream View headset to immerse themselves in VR on the web. However, Google plans to add support for Cardboard in the future, which would open up options for iOS users.
While it's still early days for WebVR, Megan lists several resources that can be viewed with a Daydream headset today.
These sites include a documentary called Bear 71, as well as Matterport's, a 300,000+ library of celebrity homes, museums, and other real places. There's also a catalogue of VR stories and documentaries at Within, over a million 3D scenes in VR hosted on Sketchfab, and WebVR Lab.
As ZDNet sister site CNET notes, Google and Firefox maker Mozilla developed WebVR along with Facebook's Oculus team, but the only generally available browser to support it yet is Chrome on Android, with WebVR currently implemented in Mozilla's Firefox nightly build.
Microsoft is also adding support for WebVR in a future version of its Edge browser and its HoloLens kit. Samsung's Gear and HTC Vive also support WebVR.
People can view VR websites from any phone or desktop, though they need to interact with a finger or mouse.
More on virtual reality
- ZTE's Axon 7 is now Daydream-ready, capable of identifying spam callers
- UK company launches 'classroom VR' with packs of 8 cheap headsets
- Google opens up Daydream app development
- Google's open-source Tilt Brush: Now you can create 3D movies in VR
- Microsoft acquires 3D data-optimization vendor Simplygon
- Academics, researchers ponder how quickly VR and AR will impact education