The inevitable has finally happened as Google announced that their Chrome browser, when paired with the Daydream View headset, will allow users to browse the internet in an immersive virtual reality world.
Going by the trend, it may not be long before the world of VR catches up with everything and instead of looking at a screen, the human population is bound to strap one around their head so that they can tune out what’s happening in their surroundings.
After all, when you get everything you need—right from work to entertainment—in the virtual hub, there is less of an immediate need to interact with the physical world.
Pushing Virtual Reality into Web Browsing
Compared to other popular headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, Google has done a fabulous job in making the Daydream View platform extremely user-friendly. Also appealing to users is the fact that Daydream is not too geeky in terms of design and is one of the most affordable headsets you could buy in the market today.
The headset was launched alongside the Pixel smartphone rollout last year, and is slowly catching up with the mainstream audience.
The Google Play Store has a huge collection of virtual reality-compatible apps including games, social media and essential applications. The newest announcement adds another important aspect to the immersive experience: web browsing in a 360-degree environment.
The announcement was made by the Chromium team’s Francois Beaufort on Google+.
Based on the blog post, it’s now official that as long as you are running the Google Chrome 61 version on any Daydream-supported Android device, you can browse all websites. There are some customization settings provided so as to ease your experience as well, and to make it more intuitive.
Users can instantly switch between 2D and 3D versions of web pages as they prefer, clicking on links and watching content through hand gestures.
The Experience of Browsing in Virtual Reality
Not all websites may initially support WebVR technology, a system Google has developed specially for the DaydreamView headset. The system converts websites into a format that makes it simpler to use in a virtual reality environment. It also helps users navigate the virtual platform with the help of gestures.
Accessing this brand new technology is not such a difficult task, though. If you have all the necessary gadgets, all you have to do is open the website on your phone using Chrome 61 and place it on the headset.
You can instantly get into the Daydream View experience from there. Obviously, the product is still in its early stages and it may be difficult for users to access other sites on the platform if they are filled with text-heavy content.
But for websites that provide more videos, images and interactive content, navigating should be a fun ride on the Daydream View headset.
Pixel 2 Event is Coming Soon
The Pixel 2 launch event is just around the corner, and a new version of Google Chrome may be announced as well to support the virtual reality setup.
The adoption rate may not be too high in the beginning, which the developers are well aware of. That’s why they are making it more user-friendly so as to bring more people onboard in the coming months.
From a practical standpoint, browsing the web using a virtual reality headset as Daydream View doesn’t make much sense because the overall experience is going to be pretty much the same. Besides, websites are not going to drastically change any time soon in terms of layout and content delivery.
The existing setup works well on both desktop and smartphones. Optimizing any site to work with virtual reality is not on the cards for most brands as they focus more on customer service and making their web pages more intuitive to help people find what they are looking for.
But the good news is that smartphones have drastically evolved in the past few months. And with most of them being very powerful at budget pricing, it may not be long before Google makes their Daydream virtual reality headset compatible with most mid-range and entry-level devices rather than keeping them exclusive to Pixel phones as they are now.
In turn, this approach might push more customers to see what the VR hype is all about.