Why Virtual Reality Web May Be A Long Way Away
Wouldn’t it be cool to browse the internet in virtual reality? Imagine how amazing that could be. Instead of hyperlinks taking you to Wikipedia pages talking about history, you could go directly to the ancient times to immerse yourself in the war or whatever it may be to fully see and understand it.
Sites that give cooking recipes, could enable smell o vision simulations for cooking and messaging boards could turn into chats that are much more face to face for people.
The internet could be completely changed if it were completely in virtual reality.
If you own a VR headset such as the Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, then you can now browse the internet in virtual reality. The only thing though, and this is a big thing, is that it’s not high quality and it’s not the typical internet or “web”.
Think about being on Amazon, pressing a button and then a virtual mall allows you to try on different clothing items. There is crazy potential. The bad thing though is that none of the major websites are utilizing VR and the only websites that are utilizing VR are typically tech demo sites so they’re not connected together with hyperlinks like the internet that we’re used to is.
You’re only able to experience interactive experiences discretely as you can only find them with rare, unique URL links.
WebVR does work and is becoming the main standard for the industry; Google has also adopted this technology. Why? Because the VR experiences are able to load immediately and in a smooth manner. You can be looking at a normal site and then a second later you’re enjoying a 3D roller coaster ride.
As noted by Casey Yee though, we’re still nowhere near a fully connected virtual reality internet and that’s not going to change much until more people become active in making it happen.
Think about how the VR web looks on Samsung Gear VR for example. A normal internet site’s interface floats a window by your eyes and then you’re able to tap to change the URL and aim your head towards the site links, etc. There is voice command for searching, which is helpful too.
Users have said that it feels pretty normal, which is a good thing. However, that’s also not necessarily a good thing since there’s nothing that sticks out as extra special and some may say it’s worse than a normal screen as it’s more pixelated and the screen is much smaller than your typical computer or laptop screen.
A true VR internet would be different as people would be able to touch content, move around and essentially see all of the information in a 360 degree view.
Yee said, “We’re wondering, what is a link going to look like in VR—the blue underlined link in text works on a page. That’s the status quo. But what does that look like in VR? Is it a portal? Is it a bounding box around an object. Do you walk up to it? Do you touch it? There are all sorts of questions around what that looks like in VR. Early on when we started the WebVR product at Mozilla, a couple years ago now, we were literally seen as the crazy people.”
Currently there aren’t many options to see what WebVR is like, but if you do come across websites that work with WebVR, you should see a button that you can click that reads “view in VR”. All you have to do is click that button and the site will transform to 3D/interactive.