Today, we primarily access the Internet through our phones, tablets and computers. But how will the world access the web in five years, or in ten years, and how will the web itself grow and change?
We believe that the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality, and that future will live through browsers. That’s why we’re building Firefox Reality, a new kind of web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets.
(If you love mixed reality – or even if you are just a curious bystander – you can read our announcement post here.)
So why are we creating a browser for mixed reality?
Here at Mozilla, it’s our mission to ensure that the Internet is an open and accessible resource that puts people first. Currently, the world can browse the open web using our fast and privacy-focused Firefox browser, but continuing that mission in a rapidly changing world means constantly investing our time and resources into new and emerging technologies – and realities.
Mozilla has always been on the frontlines of virtual and augmented reality (see our work with WebVR, WebAR and A-Frame), and this is a mixed reality browser that is specifically built to tackle the new opportunities and challenges of browsing the immersive web.
Why is this important?
This is the first cross-platform browser for mixed reality.
Other solutions for browsing and accessing the web on stand-alone headsets exist, but they are closed, and platform specific. Firefox Reality will be independent and will work on a wide variety of devices and platforms.
This is the only open source browser for mixed reality.
Just like our Firefox browser for the desktop, all of Firefox Reality is open source. Not only does this make it easier for manufacturers to add the browser to their platform, but it provides a level of transparency that our users have come to know and expect from Mozilla.
This is a browser that is built by a company that respects your privacy.
We take privacy very seriously at Mozilla. Mixed reality is still new. We don’t yet have all the answers for what privacy looks like in this new medium, but we are committed to finding the solution. We will continue to build on the proven permissions model of the web platform, which provides even more protection than native apps provide. The Mozilla values will guide us as we create Firefox Reality, just as they do with every product we create.
This is a browser that will be fast.
We know fast. We have decades of experience with web compatibility and last year we released Firefox Quantum – a browser that was rebuilt for speed. All of that knowledge, technology, and experience will allow us create a best-in-class browser for mixed reality headsets.
This is a browser that is built for the future.
Mixed reality is the wild west. How do you type? How do you express emotion? How do you view the billions of existing 2D web pages as well as new 3D content? How do you communicate? Who maps the world and who controls what you see? Can we build on our work with voice recognition and connected devices to create a better browsing experience? We love tackling these questions. Everything is new again, and we are constantly building and experimenting to find the right answers.
Browsers are the future of mixed reality.
The future of mixed reality is about delivering experiences, not about building applications. There shouldn’t be friction moving from one experience to another. Firefox was the first browser to implement WebVR – an open standard for sharing and enjoying virtual reality content through a web URL. This lays the groundwork for creating and delivering immersive experiences using a method that is as simple as opening a web page.
If you’d like to learn more, or view a demo of Firefox Reality running on the HTC Vive Focus, check out our Mixed Reality Blog. You can also follow us on Twitter, where we will provide updates on when Firefox Reality will be available on headsets. Until then, stay tuned. Exciting things are coming.