×

Mozilla Releases Firefox Reality VR Browser for Oculus Go, Daydream Headsets

Firefox browser maker Mozilla is making the jump to virtual reality (VR) headsets: The non-profit released a new browser dubbed Firefox Reality for Oculus Go, Google Daydream and other mobile VR headsets Tuesday. Users of the browser will be able to access both traditional websites as well as web-based virtual reality experiences.

The browser is part of a push to bring virtual and mixed reality applications to the web, according to Mozilla’s Chief R&D officer Sean White. “VR and AR need to be about experiences, not applications,” he told Variety during a recent interview.

White argued that web-based VR wasn’t just better for developers looking to bring their games and experiences to multiple headsets, but that the technology also offered a better user experience. When users don’t have to download and install an app before accessing it, they’d be able to more easily discover and try out new experiences. “The web will matter more and more” for VR, he said.

At launch, Firefox Reality will run on Oculus Go, Google Daydream and HTC Vive Focus as well as other mobile headsets making use of HTC’s mobile VR platform. Users will be able to download the browser app directly from the Oculus, Google Play and Viveport app stores on these respective devices.

Firefox Reality promises users a VR-optimized web experience thanks to a focus on performance and usability, White said. This includes voice search, which takes away the need to use a virtual keyboard to navigate the web in VR. At launch, voice search is being powered by Google’s speech recognition technology, but Mozilla has plans to eventually rely on its own Deep Speech technology.

In future releases, Mozilla wants to also align Firefox Reality more closely with its other products, and for instance give people access to their Pocket bookmarks and the websites they have visited with Firefox on their desktop PC.

Mozilla has plans to ultimately expand the reach of the browser to other devices, including augmented and mixed reality headsets. It previously announced a partnership with Magic Leap, but White declined to comment on a potential release of Firefox Reality on Magic Leap’s AR headset.

This isn’t the first time Mozilla has tried to expand the reach of Firefox beyond desktop and mobile devices. A few years ago, Mozilla tried to build its own operating system for phones and smart TVs dubbed Firefox OS. The non-profit ultimately ditched those efforts, and White argued that it had focused too much on the needs of its device partners and not enough on those of the user.

That’s why in VR and AR, Mozilla is now striking its own path, and building technology designed to run on multiple devices. In addition to Firefox Reality, this also includes the development of Hubs, a social VR platform designed to run in the browser. Hubs has been developed by former employees of the social VR startup AltspaceVR, who joined Mozilla around a year ago.

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content