YouTube Goes the Virtual Reality Route

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A person uses Gear VR virtual reality headsets during a preview session in Hollywood, California September 24. Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The past few weeks have been monumental for media's role in the virtual reality revolution, especially given that earlier this week The New York Times unveiled a paradigm-shifting virtual reality mobile app that aims to "simulate richly immersive scenes from across the globe."

On Thursday, Google announced that global video-sharing platform YouTube now supports 3-D virtual reality videos on its site. In a blog post, the tech company said: "Using the same tricks that we humans see in the world, VR video gives you a sense of the depth as you look around in every direction." The aim is to give viewers a different sense of depth and scale, making "near things look near, far things look far."

While Google already has been making paradigm-shifting strides in the virtual reality realm, the new announcement is significant in that it lets users share and create virtual reality videos on a global scale.

The app is available on Google Play, and some videos can be viewed on YouTube's Android app. As of right now, the pickings are a bit slim, and many of them are branded content created by retailers. But aspiring astronauts and curious souls can check out a VR view of the moon landing. All you need is an Internet connection and a Google Cardboard viewer.

Plus, any video on YouTube now has the potential to become a VR adventure. According to the video platform's blog, viewers "can now watch any video using Google Cardboard, and experience a kind of virtual movie theater." Want to see viral video favorites, like "Double Rainbow" and "Hot Cheetos and Takis" in VR? Sure, why not? The world is your virtual oyster.