Watching a flat YouTube video in virtual reality isn’t anything special, but if you still wanted to do it, you used to have to download the video to your computer, copy it to your phone, and then watch it through the Google Cardboard app, but fortunately, that’s no longer the case. Starting today, Android uses can now click a button on the YouTube app that will open a video in the Cardboard app and view it there, regardless of whether or not its actually a 360-degree video.
YouTube is breaking into virtual reality. The company announced today that its application for Android smartphones now supports Google’s Cardboard headset. This means YouTube users will be able to select a virtual reality video, stick their smartphone into the headset, and kick back as the future of video consumption appears before their eyes. “If we’ve learned anything in the past 10+ years at YouTube it’s that capturing and sharing videos is a great way to bring people there with you,” YouTube says in a blog post, adding that it’s supporting virtual reality because it “makes the experience of being there even more awesome and immersive.” The service dipped its toes into virtual reality content earlier this year with 360-degree videos that allowed users to swipe their way around whatever was happening on-screen. This update, combined with the capabilities inherent to the Cardboard headset, promises a more immersive virtual reality experience. But there’s another, larger change in YouTube’s announcement: The service has made all of its videos available to view in Cardboard. “You can now watch any video using Google Cardboard,” it says, “and experience a kind of virtual movie theater.” This gives YouTube the largest virtual reality content library.