Google Chrome Is About to Go Full VR

Google Chrome is about to get full VR functionality with the entire web, not just with sites equipped to offer the full VR experience. The updates were seen in the Chrome Beta and Dev versions. The former has a WebVR feature that allows you to take full advantage of a site that offers VR compatibility and the latter offers a VR shell that should allow users with headsets to see the whole web in a 360 degree view.

WebVR is a JavaScript API that helps to build VR compatible sites. It’s obviously not prevalent throughout most of the web so Google Chrome’s VR shell will have to do for now. However, the VR shell is also still not functional so we’ll have to wait even more. The VR shell will most certainly take advantage of the Google Cardboard headset and the upcoming Daydream setup that Google has been talking about. This will improve upon the current VR web experience which allows you to only use the headset with compatible sites and keep going back to your keyboard and mouse. The VR shell will allow users to remain within the ecosystem of the headset while hopping from one site to the next.

Daydream was announced at the I/O developer conference this May and features a home screen very similar to Oculus Rift complete with an outdoor environment you can explore. It also features some VR versions of Google apps and some third party software compatible with Google standards. To operate all this you’ll need Daydream, a controller and an Android device compatible with Daydream’s specifications (probably the latest flagships by the time it rolls out).

Reports indicate that this will mean the Play Store will have a whole section dedicated to VR apps. The section will include Google’s own software as well as immersive games and video streaming apps like Hulu, Netflix and HBO Now.

Google is bringing VR to desktop users as well. It is reported to be compatible with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

For now, if you own a Google Cardboard headset you can download the VR on Google Chrome app from the Play Store to explore the Google Chrome VR experiments.

Samsung’s VR Browser
Samsung is ahead of Google in this regard as it has a VR browser of its own. It’s only on Samsung devices though so Chrome will definitely beat it out once it’s ready. The browser was made specially to go hand in hand with the Samsung Gear VR headset.