×

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.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

  • Ashley Flowers - Crime Junkie

    'Crime Junkie' Podcast Host Ashley Flowers Responds to Plagiarism Allegations

    Ashley Flowers, creator and host of “Crime Junkie” — currently the No. 1 true-crime podcast — has been accused of using material in her show from multiple sources without credit. In a statement sent to Variety, Flowers said in part, “we recently made the decision to pull down several episodes from our main feed when their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content