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Google Chrome Gets Virtual Reality Support

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 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.

  • bit_user
    19277589 said:
    Why is VR even a thing right now?
    These are actually quite valid questions, which come up from time to time. Rather than answer them here, I'm going to suggest the VR Forum add a FAQ sticky post.

    For now, I'll just say that it sounds like you haven't tried it. It seems to be the case that seeing is believing, with VR. If there's some way you can try it, that's probably the best way to answer your questions about the difference between screen-based gaming and using a HMD.

    Also, there are lower-cost HMDs on the way. But room-scale adds complexity, equipment, and therefore cost. Nobody is yet making (much) money from VR, except maybe the GPU vendors.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Anyway, the main thing I wanted to say was that I'm disappointed the article wasn't announcing PC VR HMD support, in Chrome. Yeah, it's great that I can see these experiences in a window, but I'd really like a way to experience Daydream (or whatever standard these experiences use) on my PC VR system.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    Why is VR a thing compared to an "immersive" curved ultrawide display? With VR you get something completely different. You get a real 3 dimensional experience. Like bit_user said. If you can't imagine what that would be like, in comparison with a large monitor, you should really find a place where you can try it out.
    Reply
  • Damon_10
    Please, just try a room scale VR experience and see if you still feel the same. There are no words that make you feel what the difference is.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    19280569 said:
    19279603 said:
    Please, just try a room scale VR experience and see if you still feel the same. There are no words that make you feel what the difference is.
    LOL. Yeah, its so amazing to be able to walk around and look at things. I've never done that before.
    VR is really about trying to fool your brain into thinking you're inside of a virtual world. Maybe you're not interested in feeling any more immersion than you can already get with a screen. That's fine, but some of us (including the editors of this site) are very interested in VR and AR.

    With that said, it's starting to sound a bit like you're here with an anti-VR agenda. If that's the case, I'd suggest staying out of the comments on VR news items and other VR-related threads. Otherwise, please don't attack answers you don't like. If something isn't clear to you, then ask more questions but don't lash out at those who take the time to answer you.
    Reply
  • fireaza
    19277589 said:
    Why is VR even a thing right now? Every time I play a video game I'm doing VR. I don't understand why you have to wear a stupid headset to do this? I mean I have a 4k 55" television and a 4k monitor, I guess I don't see what the advantage is to wearing a headset when I can just use a controller to do all the same things? They call it immersive but when I sit at desk with a 27" 4k monitor I feel pretty immersed in the game. It's also way overpriced. This is basically a phone screen and some motion sensors, it should cost $99 tops. There's nothing this thing does that is impressive to me in the slightest.
    Wow, seriously? Are you seriously saying that looking at a flat, 2D screen is just as immersive as a technology that both surrounds your entire field of view and allows you to look around in 360 degrees?

    Aside from it being REALLY obvious you've never tried VR, everything you're saying makes it sound like you know that you can't afford VR, so you don't want it to exist and never wanted it anyway. Sour grapes much?
    Reply
  • bit_user
    19287383 said:
    everything you're saying makes it sound like you know that you can't afford VR, so you don't want it to exist and never wanted it anyway. Sour grapes much?
    Some people just don't like the idea of having to wear a HMD.

    I certainly don't want to force VR on anyone. But, there's no risk of that happening, anytime soon.

    For the time being, let's not rain on anyone's parade.
    Reply