The second day keynote address for the 2017 Google I/O developer conference concentrated on the company’s future plans for virtual and augmented reality. That includes some major upcoming updates for its Daydream VR platform.
The biggest news is that Daydream 2.0, which has the code name “Daydream Euphrates”, will add support for browsing and viewing web pages on headsets via Google’s Chrome browser. The Daydream controller will be used to type in URL addresses, and will also allow users to click on links in web pages via Chrome. If you browse to a page that has a WebVR app, you will automatically be switched over to that full 360 degree immersive game or app in your headset. You will also be able to view regular web videos in a big screen format on a Daydream headset.
In addition to Chrome support for Daydream, Google is also working on a version of the browser that will support AR-based experiences that can be viewed on Tango-based smartphones like the upcoming ASUS ZenFone AR. Developers will be able to check out an experimental build of Chromium with the new AR API “soon”.
The Daydream Euphrates update will also add access to a 2D panel that can appear on top of VR apps, movies and games. That should offer Daydream View headset owners.a way to check for email notifications or to change a setting without having to drop out of the app completely. If you want to show what VR app or game you are seeing to friends, the Daydream Euphrates update will allow users to capture a screen from VR apps and share it with others. You will also be able to cast a VR app or game to a Chromecast-based big-screen TV.
All of this is on top of Google’s VR announcements that it made on Wednesday. It confirmed that the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will add Daydream support soon, and that stand alone Daydream-based headsets, which won’t need a smartphone, will be released by HTC and Lenovo later in 2017.