YouTube Launches Dedicated App for Virtual Reality Videos

May 18, 2016, 6:16 PM UTC
YouTube "Dear White People" Reception - 2014 Park City
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 19: A general view of atmosphere at the YouTube "Dear White People" Reception on January 20, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for YouTube)
Photograph by Andrew H. Walker — Getty Images

Google is going all in on virtual reality as revealed at its annual developer conference Google I/O on Wednesday. The search giant’s video site YouTube is also making a big bet on VR, launching a dedicated new app for all VR videos and content.

The app is part of Daydream, Google’s new Android-based operating system for high-quality mobile VR. The software is designed to be used on smartphones that are created with the new mobile OS. The Internet giant also debuted a new hardware viewer and controller that work with Daydream phones and apps.

Daydream’s hardware adds to Google’s existing lightweight viewer Cardboard, a plastic and heavy-duty paper object that turned a smartphone running Google’s Android mobile operating system into a makeshift VR headset.

Google’s new YouTube app will work with both Cardboard as well as the Daydream viewer.

Google said that YouTube app for VR has been completely re-built for the Daydream platform. For example, voice search is a default feature for searching for videos within the app because the phone will be held by Google’s viewer around a user’s head. Similar to the core YouTube app, YouTube will also suggest VR content to users based on previously viewed content.

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This isn’t the first time that YouTube is adding immersive content. YouTube originally debuted the ability to upload and watch 360-degree videos in March 2015.

Additionally, earlier this year, the online video site added the ability to post live 360-degree videos. Most recently, YouTube added a VR mode feature to its mobile app this past week, allowing users to watch anything in VR mode using Cardboard.