YouTube is adding support for 360 degree video, a move that could put the video streaming giant in a position to offer the largest cross-platform service of its kind. And when it comes to the topic on who will become the ‘YouTube of VR’, who better to fill the role than YouTube itself?

See Also: The Race to Create the ‘YouTube of VR’ is On

The information comes from an interview between The Verge and an unnamed spokesperson from YouTube:

Ever wanted to get 360 perspectives on a video to see everything going on? That’s why we’re working to support 360 degree videos in the coming weeks.

Although it’s not clear whether they mean to include support for VR headsets as well, YouTube’s October addition of 60 Hz video—seen as the bare minimum for a nausea-free VR viewing experience—leads us to believe that they might be approaching the issue piecemeal, essentially testing the waters to gauge consumer interest. The partnership with Giroptic 360 camera, which will be “the first 360 degree camera YouTube will support natively,” also points in this direction.

Along with a few startup companies establishing similar user-driven platforms, like Littlstar which has since gone into its beta phase of testing, Samsung’s release of Milk VR last week for the new Gear VR mobile headset might also have something to do with YouTube’s sudden release of information, albeit unofficial in nature. Vyuu and Vcemo are also working on 360 streaming platforms with compatibility with VR headsets.

See Also: News Bits – Samsung’s Milk VR to Host Footage of NBA Games

Considering the monolithic video-sharing platform is already a household name and isn’t exactly in a rush to deliver to the ‘prosumers’ among us (the hottest neologism at last week’s CES that I still can’t figure out), it’s no wonder the company has remained more quiet than others on integrating its service into virtual spaces.

In the meantime, an official YouTube app for side-by-side viewing on Google Cardboard and Gear VR wouldn’t go amiss either, the former being somewhat supported through Google’s Android Cardboard app, albeit without support for 3D or iOS.

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  • pato

    This would be awesome.. You can already preview a rough youtube 3d 360 movie here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzHQCC8K3ks

    and watch it on Go Show here:
    goshow.info
    or
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.HD_goshow01

    Even if we could just upload 4k movies in a square or 1:2 format that would be great. The possibilities are limitless. having a higher refresh rate and 3d would be amazing.. you could also use a portion of the screen to define some UV space on existing geometry in the scene essentially optimizing the resolution for where the viewer would be looking. in other words in extreme up and down and behind you would use less resolution.

  • Don Gateley

    Do you suppose that Oculus/Facebook/Samsung will allow access to this on the Gear VR? Or will they consider it competition for their own proprietary content channel?

    • jessjr

      samsung relies heavily on android. i doubt they would want to cross google. in fact it would probably help sell more vr stuff so i don’t think they would really care too much anyway.

      • Don Gateley

        Ir’s pretty clear at this point that they will have to go through Samsung/Oculus/Facebook to get this capability within the fold of vetted and approved experiences for Gear VR. When the Note 4 is plugged into a Gear VR, it and it’s app completely control the phone and what you can do with it which currently means using only their UI and their content portal.

        One wonders how strong YouTube’s motivation will be to jump through those hoops. Or Cardboard for that matter. Or any other app meant for using Android to present VR.

        • Don Gateley

          Aha! A bit more research and I find that you can avoid the startup of the Gear VR controlled environment in one of two ways. First, if you are rooted you can use Titanium Backup to freeze the Gear VR Service. Second there is a way to put the phone in it without connecting it to the USB where it is detected. In either case you then have a simple passive viewer and can use other apps like YouTube or Cardboard. Cardboard presents a problem, however, that there doesn’t seem to be a way to emulate the magnet that does selection with it.

          I’ll bet that a bit of experimenting one could find a place on the Gear VR where a sliding magnet would effect the selection. I’ve suggested to the Cardboard app makers an alternative mechanism that would simply detect firm taps in the plane of the phone but to no avail. Perhaps one of the owners of this site has the weight to move that suggestion along.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Wake me when they support stereoscopic

    • Raiizn

      Youtube has had support for stereoscopic 3D for ages. Since 2009, to be exact. Here’s a few 3D videos you can watch.There used to be all kinds of 3D viewing options too (such as side-by-side, anagram, interleaved, etc.), but I can’t find those anymore.

      • pittsburghjoe

        Very cool. Thanks. I hope that option is available for 360 videos

  • vonmelchior

    It’s simple. Google Glass is Magic Leap. Magic Leap is Google. You Tube will be the engine to power the augmented reality of Magic Google Leaping Glass.

  • Chester Field

    Wonder if they will censor conservatives like YouTube does.