Counting on virtual reality being the next big thing, Google this week unveiled a veritable box of very real delights at its annual I/O developer bash in Silicon Valley.
Besides its new Android-based Daydream VR platform and accompanying hardware, the Mountain View company said it’s also planning to revamp some of its existing apps – Google Play Movies, Street View, and Google Photos among them – to offer better VR experiences for what it hopes will eventually become a huge army of enthusiastic users.
A VR-focused YouTube mobile app is also on the way, sporting the it-does-what-it-says-on-the-tin name of YouTube VR.
In a blog post teasing the app, the web giant said that while it’s already been adding support for new video and audio formats on YouTube such as 360-degree video, VR video, and spatial audio, the time was right to introduce “an easier, more immersive way to find and experience virtual reality content on YouTube.”
The app, expected to arrive in the fall alongside Daydream, will incorporate features such as voice search, discovery, and playlists, with users also able to watch all of the video site’s content, “from classic 16×9 videos to 360-degree footage to cutting-edge VR experiences in full 3-D,” YouTube VR’s Kurt Wilms wrote in the post, adding, “Whether you want a front row seat to your favorite concert, access to the best museums in the world, or a midday break from work watching your favorite YouTube creator, YouTube VR will have it all.”
Notably, Wilms said Google-owned YouTube is already working with the likes of the NBA, BuzzFeed, and Tastemade to learn more about how best to tell stories in virtual environments, with discoveries set to be shared with other content creators.
Exciting things are happening in VR, but many consumers are yet to be convinced. However, with millions of users around the world hardly ever off YouTube, the company’s decision to go all-in with VR could certainly help persuade more people to try out the immersive platform, which in turn should motivate more content creators to get involved, thus helping to ensure the platform’s long-term success.