In spite of being a technology which has taken its time in arriving, virtual reality (VR) is one which has quickly adopted its position as a technology that transcends platforms and devices. Therefore, you can now find VR for your desktop, for your mobile and in some respects, as a standalone entity. With such demand for VR from all angles of the technology sphere, it is hardly surprisingly that companies like Google are looking to standardize VR as an extension of their already-in-use service(s).
Daydream is the most obvious example for Google, as this is effectively a VR extension for mobile Android, providing owners of a Daydream-ready Android smartphone, the ability to connect with VR apps in a unified way. While that is great for Android users in general, what is likely to be a more unifying and important VR implementation across platforms is the employment of the WebVR standard. This is essentially the building block which will allow consumers to access VR content directly from websites and web apps. The Samsung Gear VR recently saw support being added for the Samsung Internet app and now it looks like the WebVR API has been added to the beta version of Google’s Chrome for Android.
Google announced the newly-added support in a blog post today and detailing that the beta version sees the WebVR API being added with Chrome 56. Along with the more general benefits of the WebVR support, this also has direct benefits for owners of devices like the Daydream View. As the WebVR API support includes the ability for the Daydream View’s position and orientation to be recognized when visiting websites through Chrome for Android. Which in turns means that web apps will be able to provide and allow the user to take advantage of a stereoscopic 3D scene. Likewise, the newly added support also includes support for the GamePad API extensions. Which in turn allows for content to be controlled by motion controllers. Again, like the one which comes with the Daydream View headset.
As mentioned, the WebVR API support has only been added to the beta version of the Chrome for Android app. So in addition to having the various hardware needed for VR on mobile, you will also need to have the beta version of the app downloaded on your device. That is, in addition to finding web apps that actually do already support WebVR content. Which although might be a little limited at the moment, should start to get more varied following today’s announcement from Google.