YouTube Adds VR To Its Android App

YouTube also announced that its entire video library can now be watched using the Google Cardboard VR viewer.

YouTube today said it is adding virtual reality functionality to its Android app.


In a blog post, YouTube wrote that it’s now possible to watch VR videos–which can provide an immersive, 360-degree view of a wide range of content–via the Android app. All that’s required is an Android phone and a Google Cardboard viewer.

“YouTube now supports VR video–a brand new kind of video that makes you feel like you’re actually there,” the Google-owned company wrote in the post. “Using the same tricks that we humans use to see the world, VR video gives you a sense of depth as you look around in every direction. Near things look near, far things look far. So if you were excited about 360-degree videos, this is pretty freakin’ cool.”

To date, the number of YouTube 360 videos is still fairly small. They include things like a spherical tour of New York City, a video about Apollo 11, and even a special VR trailer for the Hunger Games.

It’s also now possible to watch any YouTube video using Google Cardboard. According to YouTube’s blog post, users can select the new “Cardboard” option from the watch page menu, drop their smartphones into the cardboard viewer, and watch. “You’ll now have the largest VR content library right at your fingertips,” according to the post.

However, while the hundreds of millions of YouTube videos are now watchable using Cardboard–creating what the company called a “virtual movie theater”–only a tiny fraction of that content was specially created for VR viewers in the #360Video library.

Still, more and more companies are turning to VR video. Today, for example, both the Associated Press and The New York Times launched VR journalism projects.


About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications.