YouTube started out as a small video-sharing website. Today, it’s a Google subsidiary and a platform for everybody from musicians to chefs. Alexa Internet ranks it as the second most popular website in the world. A lot can happen in a decade. YouTube VR is a taste of what the next ten years might hold. The Daydream-compatible app recently launched, and its description promises that users will “experience YouTube like never before.”

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YouTube, Augmented

YouTube VR plops the user into a virtual environment that takes the usual, familiar interface and hangs it in the (virtual) air in front of them. Navigation is accomplished with the Daydream controller. This is a step up from the tried mechanic of staring at an icon until it activates. On top of that, voice search is also available for users who don’t want to find videos letter by letter.

The app doesn’t come free of problems, though. YouTube streams its videos, so the quality of your connection decides whether or not you meet the dreaded buffering pinwheel. Ads are still present. On a browser, ad-blockers solved that problem. You could also ignore them entirely as you navigate to another open tab.

But the good news is that YouTube is looking forward. YouTube game creators with over 10,000 subscribers access to cameras and software that allowed them to create 360-degree videos. While the usefulness of the feature may not be applicable to YouTube’s biggest channels, like make-up tutorials and Let’s Play videos, it can inspire innovation in the medium. Hopefully so for the fitness and workout channels.

YouTube VR for VR Fitness

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I became serious about my physical fitness during college. I didn’t know a thing about workout splits or balanced diets. So, with the suggestion from a family member I tried out Tony Horton’s P90X program. For the uninitiated, the program consists of a number of exercise videos watched in a certain order. As someone progresses through the program, they become familiar with the demo groups in each video. They start to expect the little jokes Tony makes.

While quality content is a big factor, a subscriber keeps watching a creator’s channel because of familiarity. If VR can make a music video on YouTube feel more immersive, then it can do the same with a workout. You want to believe that those words of inspiration were meant for you. For people who are just beginning on their fitness journey, a little motivation really does go a long way.

Fitness channels on YouTube can use VR technology to bring their subscribers right into the action. YouTube videos become a more personal experience when the menus are all stripped away.


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