Enabling Social Experiences Using Mixed Reality and the Open Web

Today, Mozilla is sharing an early preview of an experiment we are calling “Hubs by Mozilla”. Hubs is an immersive social experience that is delivered through the browser. You simply click on a web link to begin interacting with others inside virtual reality.

Late last year we announced the creation of a team focused on enabling social experiences using Mixed Reality and the open web. This is one of many experiments we’ll be sharing from that work. Using the web as a platform provides people with better choices and greater access. People shouldn’t have to be locked in to a specific platform or device. They should be able to connect and engage with the web wherever it expands. It is challenging work, and there is still much to do, but we are excited to share our progress with you. Starting today, we are opening up our latest Mixed Reality experiment, Hubs, to anyone that would like to give it a try.

There are other teams and companies out there that are building social VR experiences. What makes Hubs different? Well, Hubs is…

Built for the Browser

When we announced Firefox Reality earlier this month, we reinforced our stance that the web provides the best future for virtual and augmented reality (or “Mixed Reality”). This technology is at tipping point. If we want to continue to bring immersive experiences into the mainstream, we need to be laser focused on removing friction for the user. The technology needs to step out of the way, and the experiences need to take center stage.

With Hubs, you can create a room with a single click. You can then share and access that room with a URL. No app store. No gatekeepers. No installation process. Just click and you are there.

Built for Every Device

Because we are using web standards (WebVR and eventually WebXR) to deliver this content, we are able to support every single Mixed Reality headset. Every. Single. One. You can enjoy this experience with advanced hardware such as an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, or you can use alternatives such as a Daydream or cardboard viewer. You can even use your desktop or mobile phone if you don’t have access to any VR hardware. Everyone can come together and communicate with each other in this online social space. The experience will progressively scale to make use of the hardware that is available to you.

Built for Privacy

Ensuring your privacy when meeting others in Mixed Reality is a guiding principle for our work. You can take a look at our privacy policy here. We want to shape a future for Mixed Reality where users feel safe, and that means we need to create create tools, options, and features that empower users to control how their identity is represented in this new medium. We’ll have more to share soon about the work we are doing to protect your privacy in Mixed Reality. We also built this experience with open source software that anyone can view and contribute to.

Built for Scaling

The experience that is available today is an experiment, but the technology that powers it can be extended in exciting ways. In the coming months we will continue to release new tools and features, as we learn together through use and iteration. This includes kits to create your own custom spaces, powerful avatar and identity options, integrations with existing communications tools, and more.

We are excited about the future of Hubs and the potential for social VR experiences, but we need your help to test this and make it better. Check out the link below to try it out. Play with it. Share it. Break it. Contribute to it. If you are looking for even more details, then check out the blog post on our Mixed Reality blog. We’d love to get your feedback as we build this together.

Try Hubs – a WebVR experiment from Mozilla Mixed Reality