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InfoQ Homepage News Mozilla's Firefox Reality VR Browser Now Available on Oculus Quest, with Tracking Data Protection

Mozilla's Firefox Reality VR Browser Now Available on Oculus Quest, with Tracking Data Protection

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Mozilla recently brought Firefox Reality, its popular open-source Virtual Reality (VR) browser, to the Oculus Quest handset. Oculus Quest users will now enjoy the privacy features included in the browser, such as Enhanced Tracking Protection.

Mozilla revealed Firefox Reality in April, with the goal to provide manufacturers with an easy way to integrate a full-fledged, open-source, customizable browser into their headsets. Firefox Reality leverages emerging mixed reality web standards, such as WebVR and WebXR, so that users may live immersive experiences without installing headset-specific, custom-built apps. Mozilla’s chief R&D officer Sean White explained in a blog post:

We believe that the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality, and that future will live through browsers.
(…) 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.

Firefox Reality initially supported the HTC Vive Focus and HTC Vive Wave platforms, adding later HTC Viveport, Oculus Go, and Daydream. HTC as a matter of fact positioned Firefox Reality as its default browser for its headsets. This week, Mozilla added Facebook’s Oculus Quest to the list of supported headsets.

Oculus Quest owners can visit sites, and watch videos in a virtual window whilst also taking advantage of VR-specific features like 360 videos and WebVR support. Quest users can additionally use Mozilla Hubs to meet up other people in VR. As a user commented on Hacker News:

The interesting feature of this browser is navigating VR ready websites that provide an immersive experience (aka. webvr). You can also browse the regular web from your headsets, of course, but that’s not particularly exciting.

While Oculus has its own browser appearing across its various headsets too, the Firefox Reality browser emphasizes privacy (Enhanced Tracking Protection is turned on by default) and VR web activities. Virtual Reality triggers novel issues around privacy and data protection, as VR sites and apps may record behavioural and personal data. White outlines the importance of privacy for the Firefox Reality browser:

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.

Firefox Reality is presently available in 10 languages (including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean), with other languages being added. Mozilla plans to “bring the experience to desktop VR and a variety of standalone AR headsets in the second half of this year”.

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