GOOGLE ADDS VR CHROME APP TO DOMINATE VIRTUAL WEB BROWSING: Google has its sights set on the virtual reality (VR) market to boost its dominance in web browsing. Google officially launched the Chrome browser app on its Daydream VR platform last week, enabling owners of the smartphone-based Daydream View headset and the stand-alone Lenovo Mirage Solo headset to search the web within VR devices. The VR version of Chrome includes the same features as the web version — including voice search, saved bookmarks, and private browsing — but adds VR-specific features like cinema mode, which optimizes web video for the best viewing experience in VR.
The addition of Chrome to the Daydream App Store will significantly improve upon Google’s earlier efforts to bring the internet to VR users. Though Chrome has been available on Daydream View headsets since September 2017, it could only be launched by manually opening the browser on a smartphone and then placing the phone into the View headset with the browser open. Meanwhile, the first stand-alone Daydream headset, the Lenovo Mirage Solo, had no way to install Chrome since the device doesn’t depend on a smartphone to operate, and can’t access non-VR android apps.
With global VR adoption poised to explode over the next few years, the search giant is likely betting the update will position Chrome as the primary access point to the internet over VR. The global installed base of VR headsets is expected to top 63 million by 2022, a 142% bump from 26 million in 2017, according to ARtillry. And so far, Chrome is the only major web browser that’s optimized for VR experiences, giving it a strategic advantage over competitors like Safari. We also expect Google will eventually roll out Chrome VR to other VR platforms beyond Daydream, further expanding Chrome’s reach and boosting the company’s overall revenue potential.