|Mozilla Releases Reality VR Browser|
|Written by Alex Denham|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2018|
Mozilla has launched a web browser designed specifically for use with stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets. The first release of Firefox Reality can be used with Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream products.
Firefox Reality appears in the headsets as a floating panel that has the same controls as standard Firefox. You can browse web pages or move around the interface using a virtual pointer.
The open source browser was created from scratch for the headset market, and the developers say they had to rethink everything, including navigation, text-input, environments, and search.
The browser supports searching the web using your voice to avoid the difficulties of text input, traditionally something virtual reality environments struggle with. The search in Firefox Reality can optionally be used via the microphone in your headset. While this raises the prospect of other people hearing what you're looking for, presumably not many users will be in shared spaces while wearing a VR headset.
Firefox Reality uses Mozilla's new Quantum engine for mobile browsers to achieve a usable performance, and the developers say they have been careful to consider privacy and transparency very seriously.
While VR content on the web is currently quite rare, Firefox Reality will alert you to browser-based VR content when you open Reality. Mozilla says that a lot more content will become available as the company works with creators of VR games, videos, environments and 'experiences'.
The new browser is interesting from two aspects for developers. Firstly, it is open source so the code can be viewed and examined, and you can get involved if you want.
More usefully, this opens up the possibility of creating VR games or videos where a potential user can gain access just by entering a URL, and rather than seeing a website, would enter the full VR environment. Mozilla is asking for VR content creators to get in touch with them.
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