When virtual reality (VR) fans think of how the technology can mix with social media, many look towards Facebook. That’s partly because the company now owns Oculus VR and the Oculus Rift, and partly because of the opportunities the network presents for sharing VR photos and videos, with the potential to grow into virtual face-to-face meetings in time. With that in mind, then, it’s surprising to learn that the first social network to see a VR adaption won’t be Facebook; it’s Twitter.
London-based VR studio, Fourthwall, has today announced Swerve, a new application for the Android operating system (OS) that will allow users to view their Twitter feeds in VR. Due for release later this month, the app features support for smartphone-based head-mounted displays (HMDs) such at Google Cardboard, Homido, Zeiss VR One and Vrtx One. Users navigate through Twitter in a 3D space and are even able to chain searches that are broken down into hashtags and mentions.
“Our focus is mobile virtual reality and augmented reality,” said Chris Etches, founder of Fourthwall. “As VR headsets continue becoming more accessible, we are constantly thinking of new applications for VR. We’ve worked with clients making out-of-this-world experiences and 3D playgrounds but we are always looking for future paths. We decided to bridge the worlds of VR and social. We looked at Twitter and its 280 million active users and thought ‘why not?”
Fourthwall intends to release Swerve for free, though there’s currently no word of possible releases for other HMDs such as Samsung’s Gear VR, which runs with the Android-based Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6 smartphones but hosts its own content through the Oculus VR Store. Those interested in the app can head to an official website to apply for early access. The site also reveals that the app is planning to add support for photo-sharing site, Instagram, ‘soon’.
VRFocus will continue to follow Swerve closely, reporting back with any further updates on the app.