Normally, accessing virtual reality content with a smartphone requires the use of special apps. Now, the latest stable release of the Chrome web browser for Android and PC will open up the VR experience, as it adds support for the WebVR developer tools. Sites that support WebVR can now be viewed within the Chrome browser to get a more immersive experience.
You can go ahead and view that content on your phone with Chrome, but in order to get the full VR experience, you can also use the Daydream View headset while running the browser, if your phone is one of the few that currently supports the Daydream platform. Google says it will be adding more VR headset support to the Chrome browser in the future, including its own bare-bones Cardboard platform.
The blog post from Google also offers a bunch of sites that Chrome Android users can access right now with the new WebVR support. They include Sketchfab, which has over 1 million 360 degree images and movies showing a wide variety of themes and topics. There’s also PlayCanvas’ WebVR Lab site, which lets you have some interesting interactive VR experiences, including a way to play a record with a Daydream View controller.
It’s not all fun and games, though. In a separate blog post, Google talks about Bear 71 VR, a virtual reality documentary that centers on the title character, a female Grizzly Bear who roams in Banff National Park in Canada. The bear was collared and tracked, and the film shows how she tries to deal with her natural habitat being visited more often by humans. While originally made for Flash-based sites, the creators of Bear 71 revamped it for WebVR so it could be seen in Chrome and Daydream View headsets. The movie is now live on Google’s web showcase developer site.
Do you think adding WebVR support in Chrome will make virtual reality more accessible to smartphones in the future? Let us know what you think in the comments!