Google just extended virtual reality (VR) support for its Chrome browser to work with VR hardware made by Facebook’s Oculus: The Windows version of Chrome now works natively with the Oculus Rift headset and Oculus Touch controllers, according to a new browser flag spotted by a Reddit user.
The functionality has since been confirmed by another Reddit user, who wrote: “Just tried it and yep, it works (had a quick look at the Google Mars surface demo). Without the flag enabled, you just get an option for a desktop 360 view. Enable the flag though and an option to view in VR is there, and it launches it straight to the headset.”
Support seems to be limited to the Oculus Rift for now; there is no word on whether Google plans to add support for Samsung’s Gear VR headset as well. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
VR support within Chrome is part of Google’s efforts to incorporate the emerging WebVR standard into the browser. This allows developers to deploy VR applications over the web, without the need to have users download apps through storefronts, and more easily reach users across a variety of headsets.
Google added initial support for web browsing in VR, and WebVR, to its own Daydream VR headsets last September. The company has also launched a number of WebVR experiments, and has been highlighting web-based VR experiences built by third-party developers on a dedicated website.
“WebVR brings virtual reality to the web, making it easier for anyone to create, enjoy, and share VR experiences,” that website explains. “With WebVR, you can open up a browser and get into VR just by clicking a link.”
Google isn’t the only company investing in WebVR. One of the other major supporters of WebVR is Firefox maker Mozilla, which even announced a dedicated AR/VR browser dubbed Firefox Reality earlier this month.
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