One area where VR can really bridge the realms of entertainment and productivity is by simulating real-world interactions that one would have with other people on a day-to-day basis such as in a store or a workplace.
Imagine a world in which you can interact with colleagues and even browse a store, all from the comfort of your own home and all while using tech that brings the virtual closer to the real in ways never imagined before.
Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind the globally popular Firefox web browser, is hoping to join those two experiences together with their Mozilla Hubs, a virtual reality space that, with its latest upgrade, allows users to share digital content and media within the virtual hub.
PC Mag reports that Mozilla’s push to make content sharing easier in Mozilla Hubs is part of the company’s broader effort to explore how the Internet and content will be shared and viewed in the future. Pioneering what the web browser for virtual reality might look like, Mozilla’s tech is usable by phones, computers, and dedicated VR headsets. Sharing content from a website is as simple as posting a link, for example. Further, if you post a link from a website such as video-sharing mega service YouTube, rather than displaying a long string URL, the Mozilla Hubs space will convert it into the YouTube video format and allow you the option of playing it within the hub. The position of the viewing screen is then configurable based upon where the user wants to put it in the hub space PC Mag reports.
Mozilla’s Social Reality Engineering Manager Greg Fodor said in a blog post discussing the updates, “Being able to share a video with friends in VR so easily is transformative, but that’s just the beginning!…You can paste the URL to any image on the web.”
In a further expansion of this functionality, users that don’t want to share media or files from the web but rather their own computer will have the option to drag and drop those files as well.
“Upload a slide deck as a PDF, and you can flip through it together in VR…Export a 3D model to GLTF and drag it into the browser and everyone else will see it in 3D. Upload a few photos from your phone and everyone can arrange them together into a gallery. Take a screenshot, copy it to your clipboard, and paste it right into the room.”
Though Mozilla’s virtual reality effort is still in its infancy the company has bold plans for its future. Compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, Mozilla Hubs also accommodates some lower-end VR models as well.
Fodor said in the blog post: “The progress we’ve made over the last several months has strengthened our view that the open web is the best platform for getting together in Mixed Reality…Utilizing the browser helps us create features that are easy to understand, because people are already familiar with how the web works. You can invite people into a room on Hubs by simply sharing a link – and now, you can bring your favorite content into the room by pasting a link to anything on the web!”