Earlier this year YouTube began supporting 360-degree videos on the platform, becoming one of the go to places for experiencing 360 content on desktop or on your mobile phone. And now, YouTube may have just become the largest virtual reality content platform seemingly overnight with an exciting new update.
Google has announced that anyone can experience VR content on YouTube now with the platform fully supporting VR video.
YouTube 360 Video vs Virtual Reality Video
So how is this different? YouTube 360-degree videos allow viewers to use their mouse to drag the point of view around on desktop or move the phone or tablet around to see different angles. 360-degree video was a great addition to the platform, allowing users to check out full 360 environments and view virtual reality content without using a VR headset or viewer.
YouTube is now giving users the option to also watch VR video. By clicking a Google Cardboard icon on supported videos, the video with change to show you two images, left eye and right eye, that you can now appropriately use to watch in your VR viewer. Not only can watching VR videos with something like a Google Cardboard viewer give you a sense of depth to the video, it can also be a more immersive experience, where the viewer feels like they are actually there.
You can give it a try. YouTube announced the latest virtual reality support with two new videos, the Hunger Games Experience and the TOMS Shoes Giving Trip. As of right now, this is only supported on the YouTube app for Android, iOS to come soon.
Google Cardboard Virtual Movie Theater
Additionally, YouTube announced a new feature where any existing YouTube content can now be watched using a Google Cardboard viewer. Non-360 videos will have an option to click the Google Cardboard icon, drop your Android phone into a Cardboard viewer, and watch the video as if it was a floating screen in front of you. Nifty.
Late in September, we saw Facebook begin supporting 360-degree video within the newsfeed. One can only imagine that soon Facebook will also follow the lead of YouTube and jump into supporting VR video content as well.