Google is finally bringing the official YouTube VR app to the Oculus Store for Samsung Gear VR soon. Google also announced a new social feature coming alongside the Gear VR app which will allow you to chat with friends while watching videos.

Gear VR owners have been waiting for an official YouTube VR app since the headset officially launched in late 2015. Previously, users would need to navigate to YouTube via VR web browsers such as Samsung Internet or Oculus Internet, which admittedly wasn’t to best way to view the video platform’s variety of content, which spans 360 degree, VR180, and standard formats.

Another recent development in the world of YouTube VR is the app’s new social viewing mode, dubbed ‘Watch Together’. Google says in a blog post that the new feature will let you “watch and discuss videos with others in a communal, virtual space,” although we have little to go on in terms of how that’s handled outside of this short gif below which shows thumbnail versions of avatars while viewing a 360 video. The company says it will be available on Daydream View and Gear VR.

The company also proclaims that YouTube VR now supports Samsung Gear VR, Daydream View, HTC Vive, and PSVR. That’s not really the whole story though.

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Despite the fact that Gear VR is ‘powered’ by Oculus, and hooks into the Oculus Store for content, noticeably missing from the list of supported devices is any mention Oculus Go or Oculus Rift, the latter of which is actually supported via the YouTube VR app on Steam; it would be nigh impossible to create a HTC Vive exclusive when publishing through Steam using Valve’s OpenVR API and added benefit for user-created custom keybindings for SteamVR-compatible controllers.

While the Gear VR app isn’t out yet, it could be possible that Oculus Go will see de facto support too, but Google just doesn’t want the headlines to skew that way right now. Oculus themselves tell developers that “most Gear VR apps will run unmodified on Oculus Go,” so it may be when the app launches that Go users can get a crack at it too, although this is pure speculation.

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We’ll be keeping our eyes out when the Gear VR app launches later this week, and updating this piece when more information arrives.

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  • R FC

    Finally! Easily the best application on Daydream simply because it provided a constant stream of content for what is platform starved of releases (the Daydream drought…)

    Some of the YouTube VR content was brilliant especially Google’s own releases which often ran better than on the “Spotlight” application.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    Yey! Less market fragmentation is always good. Will it work on Go though idk.. Samsung phones have Google services preinstalled anyway (Google Play etc).

  • Sandy Wich

    Wait… It’s not coming to the Rift?… :/

    • It’s out for the Rift for six weeks now. https://store.steampowered.com/app/755770/YouTube_VR/

      However, even though I can launch it just fine on my Rift, it crashes as soon as I pick a video. Please share your experience once you try it out.

      • Sandy Wich

        Oh I’ve used it on Steam before, I just thought it was finally getting native support for the Rift store… Always hated that.

        But anyways, my experience with it has been that it sucks. Streamed VR videos have too much data and videos are slow to load or extremely low quality, certainly nothing in comparison to actually downloading a HQ VR video.

        Also from my experience the vast majority of, “VR content”, on Youtube is garbage due to the fact that they’re 360 degree cameras with no dual camera for proper depth. So it’s like you’re looking at a screen wrapped around your head and not a genuine dual camera VR video like what you’d see with your own two eyes in real life.

        Also most VR content I’ve seen is gimmicky, not that interesting and is mostly just a bunch of stupid roller coaster videos.

        Basically the appeal lasted me a couple hours and it’s been deleted ever since. When I want to explore the world I either download a proper VR video or use Google Earth VR, “Which if you haven’t tried… Omg man. It’s amazing.”

        • Anthony Lazarus

          You aren’t wrong about your points, I’m just getting into investing in and playing with 360 degree camera work. I feel like most of these issues will be resolved as the market produces better cameras and folks continue to expand experience and expectations from 360 degree video as a whole. People are still figuring out how to enhance the experience with 360 degree video. Watching 360 footage in VR might not always be better or more ideal than watching 360 video on a 2d format either. Facebook and some others are producing new tools that add for guided views that help give directors more control with 360 video, but almost certainly has more value in a 2d format. Being I’ve just learned of this rift app though, can’t wait to give it a try and see how things develop.

  • Miganarchine Migandi

    I like this app on the Vive, the 8K vids look great, but it needs filters as you get 2d vids to much, finding new VR video’s is a constant chore.

  • oompah

    sooooooooooo
    Sloooooooooooooow
    that ppl r starting to forget