Google Chrome is now VR-Ready, here’s our impressions

A leap forward has been achieved in that now websites do not require any sort of special programming to be compatible with Virtual Reality headsets. Google Daydream and GearVR (Samsung’s current model of Mobile VR for their Galaxy smartphones) will now bring whatever you browse under your face and launch in the Google Chrome app, in Full VR.

I tested it out last night and popped my Daydream on my face with Chrome open watching anime on a big screen just laying in bed. It’s partially fulfilling a longing that VR enthusiasts have had for a long time and somewhat struggled to produce since much of the best websites for streaming video did not feature VR support. This new Google Chrome version works with any website and doesn’t need a specific platform to be implemented by website owners.

While it’s not as good as desktop VR the quality is still totally acceptable. My phone has a 4K screen and so in some cases the viewing experience can actually be at a better resolution than on Desktop VR (as HTC Vive hasn’t reached 4K yet, even in the Vive Pro model). It’s really easy to watch with such high fidelity, even on a mobile device and cheaper headset. It’s also really easy to read (which Vive also struggles with do to the screen-door effect not being fully solved yet), the  only problem is that it’s not room-scale tracked. This means that there’s only a 3 degree of freedom remote control.

In other words, I can put a window anywhere within a 360° sphere, but can’t make the window larger or smaller. I can’t make it farther from me nor closer to me. These are features that have spoiled me in the amazing VR experiences of SteamVR with HTC Vive, and I just have to deal with it as it is currently for the MobileVR platform. For now this is a necessary evil though since it’s so much easier to watch VR while laying down in bed, something I’ve dreamed of since I first got into VR. Being able to watch TV just starting at the ceiling with complete muscle comfort feels amazing.

Normally VR overheats my phone but this new viewing experience with Google Chrome didn’t even get hot. That means the code behind it is all very lightweight, which is always a good thing. Chrome is very well tested and even though it is often caught being a RAM hog in its Windows version, I’m glad to say that the MobileVR version has been thoroughly optimized. It could always be improved, but thankfully WebVR is supported by the browser. WebVR is a format for people to build apps for VR supported web browsers and be sure that compatibility issues don’t arise. This is huge for the adult film industry. *Wink, wink*

No longer do users have to find an obscure website not really working well or download apps just to watch their anime, adult material, and other video sources. Just open up Chrome in VR, wrap it around your face, and go to your favorite video website.

What I would really like to see now are more Bluetooth accessories. For example, connecting a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and then working on Google Docs or other Google Cloud platforms from the VR headset would be the equivalent to having a Chromebook, but with a ton of window space.

You can try out Google VR for yourself today.

As a side note of interest in the VR realm, Valve has had a ton of activity with their recent update logs. Lots of hints at the new VR games can be found there, as well as Peeks at the second generation Knuckles controllers. They do have thumb-sticks. But that’s a story for another day. Until then, keep it real and keep it gaming!

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