Google is taking a further step towards its VR180 video and photo format arriving on products. First announced at VidCon 2017, the format is not currently supported on any hardware. However, we already know the first devices to support VR180 (Lenovo Mirage, above) will arrive next month. Google has now announced the format is open to all developers and manufacturers.

Through its development, VR180 has only been available to limited dev’s and companies. By expanding the footprint, Google is accelerating the evolution of the format. More developers and manufacturers can now embrace the virtual reality format and we could see a slew of devices arrive supporting it.

If you’re unfamiliar with VR180, it is a format that promises more immersive videos and images. While it works like a normal point and shoot camera, the technology create virtual reality images and videos in 4K resolution.

Google has also taken time to explain more about how the format works. In terms of video capture, the company used the Spherical Video Metadata V2 standard and built from its. This was because the standard supports mesh-based projection, which is necessary for cameras to output raw fisheye footage.

The company developer a Camera Motion Metadata Track to help stabilize video:

“This results in a more comfortable VR experience for viewers. The photos that are generated by the cameras are written in the existing VR Photo Format pioneered by Cardboard Camera.”

Changing Perceptions

Google waxes lyrical about the effect VR180 content will have, saying it will be like “stepping back into your memory”. The footage will be compatible for sharing on YouTube, on devices, and VR headsets.

Interestingly, the company says it will release “tools that help with writing appropriately formatted VR180 photos and videos and playing it back.” Expect to see those resources arrive in the next few months.