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WebVR for Daydream: How Google and Matterport are making virtual reality a reality for business

TL;DR:

  • Matterport makes VR content creation as easy as pushing a button
  • Matterport is one of the few companies that has partnered with Google to bring the VR experience to Daydream with Chrome
  • Discovering and sharing WebVR experiences is as easy as a link, no external apps required

Building an army of VR content creators

At Matterport, we are proud to deliver a simple, easy way for businesses to take advantage of 3D interior mapping technology. Though powered by complex computer vision processing algorithms, the experience for our customers is as easy as pushing a button on an iPad. This push-button simplicity has made it easy for our thousands of camera owners to digitize over 400,000 real world places into immersive 3D experiences in just a few short years. Our next step was to help our customers take these places from 3D into virtual reality.

From the moment we launched our first VR app for the Samsung Gear VR, we wanted to honor our commitment to keeping things simple for our customers and their clients. We wanted to make it as easy and cost-effective as possible for our customers to both create VR content as well as share it.

This led us to invest heavily on the development of CoreVR - a breakthrough automation solution which instantly created a VR version of every Matterport Space ever created. Overnight, the cost of creating a VR experience from a Matterport Space fell from $500 to free*. And, instead of the original 2 week turnaround time, it was instant. Every Matterport customer around the world in over 70 different countries suddenly became a VR pioneer.

* CoreVR is available for free until June 30th, 2017. Visit our website for more details.

Making the future shareable with push-button simplicity

Once our army of customers had the ability to create VR content with ease, our next focus was making sure they would be able to easily share this content across a range of devices. We began by adding link support for our VR Spaces, enabling end users to click a link to load their Spaces in VR rather than following elaborate instructions for tethering the device to a computer. This also made it much easier for our customers to demonstrate VR at tradeshows, events, or during in-person meetings.

The Matterport VR app for Gear VR offers the optimal mobile VR experience, bringing Matterport Spaces to over 5,000,000 Gear VR owners all over the world. The Matterport VR app for Cardboard, which users can access with either an Android or iPhone device, brings Matterport Spaces to over 5,000,000 people who already own an existing Cardboard viewer and allows our customers to target the 2B Cardboard-compatible phones. But we weren’t about to stop there.

We wanted to make it even easier for our customers to share their VR Spaces with their clients, so we added a VR button to our 3D Showcase player. With more than 100,000,000 views, 3D Showcase was the broadest way to deliver VR to our customers and their end-users. We ensured that the VR button offers a contextually relevant and customized experience by device. No matter the device being used, the end-user will always be able to find exactly what they need to deliver the best VR experience.

Eliminating the need for an external app with WebVR for Google Chrome

With all of the improvements to our system, the requirement of downloading an external app still added friction to the VR experience. It also required the end-user to leave the original website to launch a model in VR, driving traffic away from the customer’s webpage. So we narrowed our focus to WebVR for Google Chrome.

By adding WebVR support for Daydream-ready phones, users can now access Matterport VR Spaces from directly within their browser. Matterport is one of few companies that partnered with Google to bring the VR experience to Chrome.

If a user clicks on the VR button in 3D Showcase from the latest version of Chrome from a Daydream-ready phone, they will be able to experience the model in VR within the browser itself - no app required.

Chrome 56 is the first production level browser to offer native WebVR support as an Origin Trial, ensuring the highest levels of VR performance. Most other browser vendors such as Mozilla and Microsoft have committed to adding native WebVR support within the next few quarters. We will continue to expand this support to other browsers and platforms as it becomes available. Additionally, we will continue to expand our VR SDK to include WebVR support to facilitate advanced level integration on partner websites.

To conclude, WebVR brings the power of the linked web to VR. It opens endless possibilities for innovation by utilizing the maturity and ubiquity of web and this is just the beginning of the exciting things to come. We look forward to experiencing the future with you.

By Ashish Agrawal, VR Lead

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Comments

4 comments
  • You guys have knocked this one out of the park! This is VR done RIGHT. It is an absolutely incredible milestone that is ahead of its time -- and at the perfect time for Matterport to assert its place as an innovator on the web on all platforms!

    I am blown away by the amount of work put into bringing Matterport Showcase to WebVR and integrating it elegantly and effectively. Absolutely amazing!

    As Matterport VR is a dynamic, work-in-progress -- much like the entire Matterport platform - I would love for there to be an open discussion led by Matterport that outlines where Showcase WebVR is it now and where it is going.

    CoreVR has a name - what can we call the Daydream experience? It is a platform unto itself that seamlessly takes the place of 3D Showcase when entered into. "Showcase VR" is already a very mature experience, but there are features that are still in the pipline such as MatterTags, Labels and correct me if I'm wrong, the Highlight Reel.

    I'm so excited about this that I want to know what to call it and want to be be able to tell clients that MatterTags will be available soon! :)

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  • This looks really cool. I am however disappointed that there isn't an IOS option. I love Matterport but it has always struck me that we use iPads for capture but couldn't use IOS VR (until recently) to view. Personally I like to stick with one environment. Just an observation.

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  • Hello @overandabovephoto

    I can understand your frustration. Internally we would love to be able to support iOS and even other Android devices with WebVR. However, right now WebVR is still a new and emerging standard. So new in fact, that it is not supported on all platforms (yet). As a result, as much as we would love to support iOS, it is just not an option at this time.

    Today, there are literally no web browsers for iOS or Android that support WebVR for Cardboard. While Google has said support for additional Android devices is in the works, they have not specified which devices will be supported. For example will any Android device work, or will it only be devices that have Android 7? They have also not given a specific date and have only said it will be "soon".

    With iOS, there is even less information. While Google has said they would love to be able to bring WebVR to iOS via Chrome, the only way to do that is with Apples help, and right now Apple is not saying anything regarding WebVR support.

    As a result, as much as we would love to be able to view WebVR content on these platforms, until there is a web browser that supports this, our options are limited.

    Best,

    Keith S.

    MatterportVR

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  • Thanks Keith. I understand you can only use the tools that are available. Just venting a bit. As previously mentioned by me and others it would be great if the VR movement could be incorporated into iOS devices in full screen mode. The model (at least in VR mode) is obviously aware of device movement. If that orientation awareness could be translated to showing on the screen it would be a cool upgrade.

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