YouTube announced today that it’s bringing two new features to its popular video-viewing service. Perhaps the most important of the two updates is that YouTube now supports VR Video. That means people can upload full virtual reality experience videos which have an added depth versus the regular two-dimensional flat video. Objects that are near look close, those further away seem far.
There are already a few videos optimized for the full VR experience. YouTube points us towards the Hunger Games Experience or the TOMS Shoes Giving Trip, both of which are part of a 13-video playlist that’ll easily take a good chunk of your time and give you a taste of VR on YouTube.
The second announcement is that the YouTube app for Android now supports Google Cardboard, and you can watch any video using the company’s budget virtual reality headset. While you’re watching any video, all you have to do to activate the Cardboard viewer mode is hit the three dots in the top right corner and select ‘Cardboard’ then drop it in to your Cardboard set.
The idea with the updates is to make YouTube a more immersive experience. Instead of watching content on a screen at arm’s length, all you see is the actual content, and with the added VR effects in some videos, it almost fools you into thinking you’re actually in the scene. What’s particularly great about YouTube and Google Cardboard is that you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get the VR experience. YouTube is a free app, and Cardboard sets are available from as little as $10.
Both of the updates are live from today. To take advantage and dive in, you just need to make sure that you have a Cardboard set and have the most recent version of the YouTube app downloaded from the Play Store.