Innovation

Firefox brings VR to the browser with WebVR, joining Chrome and Microsoft Edge

With version 55 of Firefox for Windows, Mozilla announced support for the WebVR open standard that allows for virtual reality experiences online.

On Tuesday, with the release of version 55 of Mozilla Firefox, the browser officially added WebVR support for Windows headset users, the firm announced in a blog post.

"It's fulfilling a dream many of us have shared for a very long time: to put virtual reality (VR) content on the web so anyone can interact with, build and enjoy it," Sean White, the senior vice president for emerging technologies at Mozilla, wrote in the post.

For those unfamiliar, WebVR is an open standard for developing browser-based virtual reality experiences. WebVR aims to democratize access to VR content, so that would-be users only need a headset and browser to check it out.

SEE: Executive's guide to the business value of VR and AR (free ebook)

As noted by ZDNet's Liam Tung, WebVR is also supported by Google's Chrome and Microsoft's Edge browsers as well. If the standard continues to grow in adoption, it could make it easier for businesses to engage customers with VR content, as it would lower the barrier to experiencing said content.

Smartphone headsets like Google Cardboard have been popular among businesses looking to experiment with VR content. The Savannah College of Art and Design, for example, sent them to prospective students to give them a VR tour of campus before they even visited. However, content for headsets like this is typically delivered through an app that has to be downloaded through one of the major app stores.

Additionally, advanced options like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive offer a more robust experience, but they are expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain. Investing in browser-based VR means that businesses could meet customers where they are, no matter which headset or system they are using.

As noted in the Mozilla post, the concept of VR on the web has been around since the early 1990s, but has struggled to gain traction. Now, with the growth of WebVR, it could quickly become a more viable option.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Mozilla Firefox announced WebVR support for Windows headset users with the launch of version 55 of its browser on Tuesday.
  2. Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge also support WebVR, which could make it easier for businesses to deliver VR content to users, regardless of what headset they use.
  3. Web-based VR was conceptualized in the early 1990s, but WebVR could help it reach real success in the enterprise.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/max-kegfire

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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