If you’ve been keeping up with the latest news about VR, you know that virtual reality is enhancing games, film, photography and educational applications. But what about the interweb. Google has recently turned their %20 project ‘WebVR API’ into a full-scale project. This is part of their initiative to bring immersive interfaces to the masses and being able to convert the internet into a immersive environment will definitely have a appeal to the mainstream, because who doesn’t utilize the web.
WebVR essentially allows your immersive headset, such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive to plug into the web. Currently you can connect Firefox, Chrome and Gear VR browser to the headsets through the API. If you own a website and would like it to be compatible with these VR HMD, you can utilize their WebVR Polyfill application, allowing you to convert your website to VR.
What is really important and a essential benefit about WebVR API, is that it allows content-creators, developers and website owners to create customized experiences for people who visit their webpage. Afterall, that is the point of an Application Programming Interface (API), to allow people to create the content or solution necessary to fulfill a need or create an engaging media experience. Even though WebVR API is still kinda rugged, it allows web content-creators to do just that.
RoadToVR had the chance to catch up with Brandon Jones, who was the lead developer of WebVR API when it was still a %20 project. Recently he has switched over to WebVR API’s development full-time. During an interview with Brandon, Kent Bye asked him, “What type of experiences do you want to have in VR?” Brandon’s reply, “I want to be surprised, I want to have experiences that I didn’t know I wanted… I also wanted to be able to like have a lot more mundane experiences.”
The sort of mundane VR experiences he was referring to, which would have real-world value for mainstream use, is being able to house-shop in VR. Being able to actually enter a virtual space showcasing the full-scale and architecture of the house is way better than looking at a two-D picture on the web. Being able to get up close to a car that has peeked your interest, is way better than looking at a flat image.
These sort of virtual reality experiences through the API will not be as grandeur as content created on the Unreal Engine, but it does establish a foundation for the web itself to cross into the VR realm. This will be very important as more people obtain and become accustomed to VR HMD and content, because who doesn’t traverse the web.