Samsung is releasing a web browser for its Gear VR virtual reality headset this week, which will go a long way towards bringing more content onto the device. The browser, dubbed “Internet for VR,” will be released in a beta version via the Gear VR’s Oculus Store Wednesday, according to Samsung.
The browser will allow users to visit any website, and watch 360-degree and 3D videos hosted on the web. Users will be able to enter web addresses through a virtual keyboard, and the app will also import bookmarks from the mobile device’s regular web browser.
So which videos will this be good for? In theory, any publisher could benefit, as users will also be able to just watch regular 2D videos. But the browser could be particularly interesting for anyone interested in two things: YouTube and adult content.
There’s currently no YouTube app available for Gear VR, as Google is focusing its VR efforts on its own Cardboard platform. Likewise, adult content publishers are barred from the Oculus store, but a number of adult websites have started to target Gear VR owners with dedicated 360-degree videos. A browser will make it a lot easier for these publishers to reach an audience.
However, in the long run, Gear VR could gain even more from having a browser on the device. A number of VR developers have started to build virtual reality technology based on web standards, which will one day make it possible to publish games and complex experiences on the web, without the need to distribute apps to each and every headset. Websites could even offer a VR mode, much in the same way many offer a mobile-optimized version today. There’s no word yet on whether Samsung intends to support the development of web-based VR standards, but the Internet for VR browser certainly seems like a step in the right direction.