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Google brings immersive, 360-degree video ads to YouTube

It’s just what you’ve been waiting for, isn’t it? 360-degree video ads? Well, whether or not they’re at the top of your wish list, Google’s YouTube service has seen fit to roll them out anyway. The move shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as the video streaming site launched support for the immersive video technology back in March.

The new feature works on iOS and Android devices, as well as with Google’s Chrome browser. For mobile, simply move the device about to survey the entire scene, while those watching using Chrome can drag the picture around to see what’s happening in all parts of the wraparound picture.

Of course, if the ad is of particular interest, or is simply so darn good there’s no other way to watch it, you can always strap on a VR headset to check it out.

Related: Getty bringing its 360-degree content to Oculus

YouTube Ads product manager JR Futrell called the new 360-degree format “a truly mobile-first video ad product,” a notable point considering half of YouTube’s views now come via smartphones and tablets.

With the technology having been available for several months now, quite a few companies have already been posting 360-degree videos on their pages – check out this one from Nike, for example, or how about Coca-Cola’s early effort here. However, today’s launch connects the technology to Google’s TrueView ad platform, enabling brands to publish the videos as pre-roll ads.

Related: Facebook announces 360-degree video support

Announcing its new product to advertisers on Wednesday, Google said 360-degree video ads guarantee “richer experiences” and allow the audience to engage “in an entirely new way.”

Bud Light kicks the show off with a series of ads (one of which we’ve embedded above) featuring scenes from Whatever, USA, a massive promotional event that took place on Catalina Island in June.