Last month saw Google hold its annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco. The company had plenty of updates to share across all areas of its business, including its work in virtual reality (VR). It revealed expanded work in VR beyond its Google Cardboard mobile head-mounted display (HMD), including its Google Jump system for 360 degree live action video filming. The system is made up of a number of aspects, including a video player in the form of an updated YouTube app. Said update was promised for later on in the year and, this week, it has indeed arrived.
The update only appears to be available on the Android operating system (OS) at this time, though incoming support for Google Cardboard on iOS suggests that it will also reach Apple’s platform further down the line. It allows for those with a Google Cardboard or one of the officially branded ‘Works with Google Cardboard’ kits to load up certain 360 degree videos and press a special icon in the bottom right corner. Having done so, the image on screen will split into two so that it can be viewed using the pair of lenses embedded in the given HMD. That support includes VRFocus‘ own inaugrual VRCast test run.
Images of the icon and the resulting side-by-side display can be seen below.
Along with iOS, many will hope that this service eventually reaches browsers on PCs so that it can be used with upcoming HMDs such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The PlayStation 4 also has its own official YouTube app; could support for the Project Morpheus HMD make it into this service later down the line as well? The platform has become an instrumental part of everyday life for many, and YouTube VR support has huge implications for the technology’s future.
VRFocus will continue to follow YouTube’s support for VR closely, reporting back with the latest updates on its progress.