Using VR on your phone has always been a pretty deliberate decision, you slot your phone into a headset, navigate the internal menus and home screens and launch apps and experiences from within the headset. Now, Google is making it easier to discover VR content spontaneously by bringing WebVR to Chrome.
Previously Chrome lacked mobile browser support for WebVR, meaning that the browser couldn’t gather any data regarding the phone’s position and orientation or input controller. With this data, Chrome has the ability to offer pretty rich experiences. Users can navigate to a particular webpage, tap on a WebVR experience and have the option of navigating it with their finger (or mouse on desktop) or tossing the phone into their Daydream View to embrace a more immersive experience.
In December, Google rolled out support for the WebVR API to a beta of Chrome, but now that update is going wide.
WebVR allows companies and content creators to delve into the world of creating VR experiences without having to host those experiences in a native VR app. This update to Chrome not only allows websites to host 360-degree videos that users can view, but it also supports enabling full experiences with the Daydream headset and controller.
In Google’s blog post, the company highlighted some early partners including SketchFab, Matterport, and PlayCanvas.
Right now, this expansion is limited to users of Google’s Daydream headsets as well as people viewing the VR content on their phone or desktop without a headset. Google says they plan to add support for other headsets soon, including their own Cardboard platform. Given that this only works for Daydream, iPhone users are obviously not included here, but iOS may see some love once Google rolls out full Cardboard support.