Google announced that its Chrome browser now supports virtual reality (VR) films, games, and other experiences.
Google said in a blog post that Chrome's VR support is best demonstrated via the Daydream platform, but you can also "view VR content on any phone or desktop computer and interact using your finger or mouse." That's good news for Chrome--few Daydream-ready smartphones are currently available, and the company's recent decisions to cut the Daydream View's price and open up the platform to all developers suggest Daydream may be off to a slow start.
From the blog post:
Virtual reality (VR) lets you tour the Turkish palace featured in “Die Another Day,” learn about life in a Syrian refugee camp firsthand, and walk through your dream home right from your living room. 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.
This update could help Google's other VR efforts. Right now experiencing VR content often requires digging through software marketplaces, trying out different headsets, and in some cases purchasing a video game console or VR-capable PC. The ability to visit a web page and immediately start poking around VR content--even if it's not as immersive as a dedicated VR headset would be--could help people better understand why VR can be so exciting.
Google called out several websites that already take advantage of Chrome's new VR support. The National Film Board of Canada's Bear 71 VR documentary lets people see the world like a grizzly bear, Within offers access to "more than two dozen award-winning VR films," and Sketchfab (opens in new tab) has "more than a million stunning 3D scenes in VR" to explore, for example, and other sites let people explore both real and virtual places for themselves.
The blog also stated:
"We want to bring VR to everyone on any device, and in the coming months we’ll add support for more headsets, including Google Cardboard. Try out these VR-enabled sites to be one of the first to experience the magic of VR on the web."
VR support is available now in the latest version of Chrome; the browser should automatically update whenever it's restarted.