YouTube’s Grand Plan to Make VR Accessible to Everybody

With Cardboard and the launch of some clever new features, YouTube says it wants to democratize VR for mainstream audiences—for real this time.

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At launch, YouTube is featuring ten or so lifelike, 360-degree VR videos that the company shot itself. These include a tour of an Icelandic glacier, a performance by a violinist, and a computer-generated recreation of the Apollo 11 moon landing. But Bengali says he expects that library of content to grow “very rapidly,” especially as the company works with YouTube creators to get more VR content up on the platform. Any video, meanwhile, that had been filmed to showcase YouTube’s 360-degree video technology, which it unveiled in March, is viewable using a smartphone and Cardboard, too.  In an even more ambitious move, YouTube is also making every clip in its massive database viewable in a “virtual movie theater.” Tap the Cardboard button that now appears within the YouTube app while watching video on your phone, and the video view changes. You can pop your phone into Cardboard and watch the clip in a kind of floating theater view. When you move your head, you’re prompted to “click to recenter” the clip, and view readjusts right with you. It would be great, one can imagine, for watching YouTube clips in bed with the VR headset balanced on your face.

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