As per the reports, Google Chrome would now support the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. As of the version 66.0.3359.117, the users could load up the browser’s “flags” settings (type “chrome://flags” in the address bar) and witness the new “Oculus browser support” listing. If enabled, the Google Chrome would use Facebook’s VR device for virtual reality. It is set typically to default, though the users manually could choose to enable or disable the setting.
Reportedly, a Reddit user confirmed saying that he had a quick look at the Google Mars surface demo and realized that without the flag enabled, the users just get an option for a desktop 360 view and enabling the flag, the users get an option to view in VR, and it launches it straight to the headset.
The news follows the added support of Google for WebVR in Chrome 61 for Daydream View headsets in the month of September. In accordance with Google evangelist Francois Beaufort, the browser lets the users interact with any website in virtual reality, automatically switch from 2D content to 3D-based sites that support WebVR, and follow links in between pages.
The current virtual reality headsets work with WebVR in various ways. For example, the HTC Vive formulates with Firefox, Supermedium, and Servo on Windows devices while the Firefox Nightly supports WebVR applications for the Vive on MacOS. With the Oculus Rift, WebVR functions in Supermedium, Firefox, and presently Chrome on Windows devices.
The cheapest way to access WebVR-supported content if a user already has an Android phone is to use Google Cardboard, the solution of the company for virtual adventurers on a really tight budget. The first-party entry of Google sets users back a mere 15 dollars whereas if their Android phone supports the Daydream platform, they could easily opt for the pricier Daydream view headset, which sells typically for 100 dollars (though it is currently on sale for 50 dollars until 28th April).
WebVR is the brainchild of the Vladimir Vukićević of Mozilla that was introduced in the year 2014. The initial full version did not become available till March 2016, presented by the Google Chrome and the Mozilla VR teams. The version 1.1 came around in April 2017 while WebVR 2.0 is expected to arrive in the current year. Along with the members from Mozilla and Google, the developers from Microsoft also have joined in the joint WebVR collaboration.
As of now, Chrome for the desktop seems only to support the Oculus Rift. There is no indication so far that the Windows Mixed Reality and the HTC Vive headsets would join in the list of supported hardware of Chrome, but the current year is still alive, so there are things left to be seen.