With Google launching its $80 Daydream View virtual reality headset today, November 10, the tech giant has developed an exclusive YouTube VR app that Erin Teague, product manager of YouTube VR, said was built from the ground up and optimized for Daydream and VR.
“YouTube VR puts virtual reality content front and center, is built for comfort and longer sessions, and brings the best of YouTube VR to you,” Teague told [a]listdaily. “Building for VR is new for everyone, so we spent a lot of time experimenting on how we could make this experience as easy, comfortable and amazing as possible. For example, we designed the interface in front of you, so you don’t need to move your head around a lot. You can also choose how far you want the screen and how big the screen is.”
Teague said the new app allows users to easily browse, search and watch their favorite YouTube videos at any time. Users can sign into your existing YouTube account to view their subscriptions and playlists or discover new content with voice and keyboard search in a wide variety of video formats: rectangular, 360 and VR. “Daydream View allowed us to build a much more immersive experience,” Teague said. “The YouTube VR app is built for comfort and longer sessions—you don’t need to take off your headset to navigate like you do on Cardboard—and it has all the functionality you would expect on YouTube, such as searching, watching and sharing, so you can just sit back and enjoy.”
Director of YouTube creators, Jamie Byrne, said that it’s more than just an amazing new technology—VR allows users to make deep, human connections with people, places and stories. From music to cooking to fitness, creators have done some incredible things with this technology. Beauty vlogger Meredith Foster created an 11-minute 360-degree tour of her apartment. Tastemade created a series of cooking videos. Rooster Teeth reimagined their gaming comedy series, Red vs. Blue, for some fresh laughs. And breaking news in 360-degrees is available from HuffPost RYOT.
Byrne said YouTube VR allows users to have experiences or visit places they might not be able to in real life. They can swim with sharks thanks to Curiscope, get a first-hand look at a living, breathing dinosaur at the Natural History Museum in London, travel to Belize with StyleHaul or hike a trail a thousand miles away with Daniel and Kelly at Fitness Blender.
“YouTube creators are well positioned to innovate storytelling and create new formats that will drive VR watch time for years to come,” Byrne said. “Just like over the past 10 years, the YouTube community embraced and innovated video formats, from ‘Let’s Plays’ to beauty tutorials to unboxing videos. We are working with media companies and creators to experiment and learn what works best in VR and try to uncover exciting new ways for our creators to tell stories and engage audiences.”
Byrne said since this is an experimentation period, there’s a wide range of VR content available from unboxing to travel, gaming to music videos, live events to beauty and fashion. “We’ve tried to cover as much as possible to learn what works and what doesn’t work in VR,” Byrne said. “All YouTube content is available on the app. We’ll display VR videos front and center, but you can watch every single YouTube video in VR-mode on a VR headset.”
Byrne said VR expands the original mission statement of YouTube. “We want to democratize the VR experience, enabling any creator to tell stories with VR, but also so that anyone can have a front row experience,” Byrne said.