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Google Is Adding a VR Shell To Chrome To Let You Browse the Entire Web In VR ( 59

An anonymous reader writes: While it's possible to create and view specially built virtual reality 'WebVR' websites through today's browsers, traversing the web in VR means taking your VR headset on and off as you come across VR websites and non-VR websites. Google is working to fix this by adding a 'VR Shell' to the Chrome browser that will render non-VR websites in a virtual environment, and allow seamless transitioning from them to WebVR sites. Recent developer builds of Chrome on Android reveal both the WebVR API and VR Shell directly integrated into the browser. The company is also working on adding support for headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on desktop.
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Google Is Adding a VR Shell To Chrome To Let You Browse the Entire Web In VR

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  • Sounds like Disclosure or Jurassic Park Who wants to browse the web visually?
    • Well, I think everyone wants to browse their OS and the web visually. The problem is it has never worked in the past. I would love to see this work this time but given the fact that most people can't stand to be in a VR headset for more than 30 minutes at a time, I have my doubts.. at least until an something to magic leap actually makes it into the market. Still, I can't help myself. I love this kind of thing and will definitely try it out.
    • Who wants to browse the web visually?

      Uh... how do you do it?

    • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

      Sounds like Disclosure or Jurassic Park Who wants to browse the web visually?

      No kidding. I browse the web nasally.

      It stinks.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ahhh! It's VRML all over again!

  • Mostly a bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @02:13PM (#52420619)
    Most information on the internet is best presented as text. Some is best as audio, and some as video. It's delightful that the latter two (and now VR format) are available. But the medium should be chosen by the type of information, not because it's new and shiny.

    I've ranted before about Youtubers posting videos for every kind of thing they may want to communicate. A video of a static image. A video of a slide show. A video of a graph. A video of a man reading a paragraph of text. Only in that last format is it even possible for the video format to add value. And I've seen game reviews where the person is just reading his review text with completely unrelated and detached gameplay in the background. They don't do it because video is the ideal way to absorb the information. They do it because they can get ad revenue.

    Now I don't have anything against VR as a medium. I love it! But converting static text to video format is as useless as converting video to VR format. If it doesn't need 3-D visualization, you're wasting bandwidth and making it harder to take in the presented information.

    It's very simple. If you have formatted text with topics, text, and bullet points use a text medium. If you want to include links to related pages, use hyperlink medium. If you need to present things that should be heard (either for ease of understanding or because text doesn't easily translate to the sound) use audio. If you need to show visual information that doesn't change dynamically, use a picture. I don't think I need to go on. If and only if 3D pictures or video is ideal, use VR. Otherwise you're just getting in the way.
    • That last paragraph is key.

      Sure, don't post pictures of text* and videos of pictures. On the other hand, just as a picture can be worth a thousand words, a 3D model can be worth a thousand pictures - in some circumstances.

      * Come to think of it, "pictures of text" also have their uses, such as database diagrams, flowcharts, etc.

    • A video of a slide show.

      Of all the pointless YouTube uses mentioned, this is the one I hate the most. There is nothing that is a bigger waste of time, especially if you want to see a few of the pictures but don't care about the rest. What the world needs is a browser add-on that converts YouTube slideshows to a directory of jpegs.

    • Sit up straight. Get your eyes the proper distance from the screen. That leaning forward slightly is killing your spine.
      Sure your eyes are OK? You might need corrective lenses to do this all day without eyestrain.
      Screen is a little sharper and brighter. Now it's bigger.
      Got that CRT scan line refresh flicker and jitter out. Great!
      Keyboard the proper height? Mouse fite comfortably? (Everyone should try a trackball at leastonce, works better for some)
      Alright, now lets get onto fonts. Choose a good one as defau

    • For me, videos are good for tasks involving motion - especially where it's you or part of you that's moving - like using tools or sports/martial arts moves.

      They're worst for showing you how to do something on a computer. You invariably miss a bit, try to go back but go back too far, try to jump forward a bit to save time but jump forward too far, jump back too far again and just run it from there. Of course because you're going through stuff you already did your attention wanders and then you miss it agai

  • I'm surfing the web on a computer in VR!

    I'm surfing the web... in a movie theater!!

    I'm surfing the web while white water rafting! Whoa! Look out for that log while I'm composing this message! Heh heh! :rollseyes:

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @02:20PM (#52420683)
    Really? Is it April Fools Day?

    Do not want VRML or whatever this new 3d crap is. Do not want auto-video. Want per-tab audio on/off controls. In general, don't follow Firefox's path to Bloatville and we'll still respect you in a few years.
    • Do not want VRML or whatever this new 3d crap is. Do not want auto-video.

      Come now, Citizen, do not deny that Teh Great Google knows what's best for you.

      You will consume media as they wish it to be done, and you shall enjoy it. Do not be disharmonious with their Advertising, lest ye be cast into the Pit Of Internet Explorer, where ye will writhe in the Flames of HTML 1.0 forever and ever!

      Teh Great Google has spoken!

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      I doubt it's going to be mandatory that you wear a VR headset to use Chrome so I don't see why you care that it supports it. Basically other people should have what you don't want?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    We did this once. It didn't work. Had some neat ideas but way ahead of it's time. Maybe the "bookmarks as a mall" idea will return.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Didn't people want to do this in the 90s?

    • by Adriax ( 746043 )

      Yeah, but brick and bag style cell phones were horrible for vr headsets. And strapping a 30lb CRT to your head was put of the question.

  • Just use VirtualDesktop or BigScreen Beta?

    Your entire desktop is in VR, then.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a UNIX system.

  • by Phishcast ( 673016 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @03:01PM (#52421051)
    GopherVR []?
  • by Crispy Critters ( 226798 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @03:01PM (#52421055)
    Snowcrash here we come. We are my sword and motorcycle?

    (I like the idea of moderating /. with a katana.)

  • by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 30, 2016 @03:04PM (#52421085) Journal
    Will it support VRML?
  • Lawnmower Man 3
  • Hopefully this time the rendering will be better due to more modern tech. The VRML sites I messed with back in the 90s were awful and took forever to load due to the size of the data.

  • Did they hire Elroy Patashnik []?

  • I'm fine with it as long as there's a way to turn it off. Or am I being to optimistic or naive?

    • There will be a way to turn it off. Until it's old news. Then, "support for a legacy option used by less than 1% of users, has been removed" will be a single item in a changelog.

  • I'm not really looking forward to the porno popups.

  • Will this interface allow me to grab a website, tear it to shreds, light the shreds on fire, and sweep the ashes into a dustbin? I'd like to start with Slashdot Beta.
  • Man Slashdot is going to be so cool in VR. I mean it will be like I'm right there.
  • Is this new chrome for Chrome, or are they merging Samsung's additions to their Chromium build for Gear VR?
  • It's the sound of inevitability. It's coming on/before the year 3000: []

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson