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Google's new VR View tool allows easy embedding of 360-degree content

Google wants to make 360-degree content more accessible for more people, and to do so, it is introducing a new tool: VR View. This allows developers to embed 360-degree photos and videos in their websites or apps simply by adding a few lines of code. Google says the aim is to make this sort of content more widely available, whether that's a travel company showing off its sunny locations, or a real estate agent giving would-be buyers a view inside the house of their dreams. The code for VR View has been open sourced on GitHub here.

Google is bringing its Cardboard SDK to iOS

The company also announced that it's bringing its Cardboard SDK to iOS — making it easier for developers to create VR content for Apple's mobile devices. The Cardboard SDK (or software development kit) is like a starter pack for VR experiences. It offers a basic scaffold for implementing technical features like head tracking and spatial audio, allowing creators to focus on what their VR content looks like. The Cardboard SDK was introduced for Android in December 2014, and although developers working in Unity could target both mobile platforms, it's good to see Google offer support directly for iOS.

VR View, meanwhile, is more like an intermediary step toward full virtual reality experiences. You won't necessarily need a headset or the Cardboard app to look at VR View content — you can just move your phone around in the air (sometimes called the "magic window" approach) or click and drag on a computer. "VR is great for entertainment purposes,"  Google product manager Nathan Martz told TechCrunch. "But for VR to be as transformative as we all hope it will be, it has to be useful as well."