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Firefox 55 with WebVR Lets Users Use Virtual Reality Devices with the Web


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A first Beta version is now ready for public testing

As expected, a day after Mozilla launched Firefox 54 as the new stable version of the widely-used web browser, the next release entered Beta testing, in this case, Firefox 55.

Preliminary release notes for Firefox 55 have already been published online, so we can't help but notice that it will ship with a new technology for using virtual reality (VR) devices, called WebVR. In fact, Mozilla teased Firefox users at the beginning of June with an announcement that it's working on bringing virtual reality support, and Firefox 55 would be the first release of the web browser to get it.

"WebVR transforms Virtual Reality (VR) into a first-class experience on the web, giving it the infinite possibilities found in the openness and interoperability of the Web Platform," said Mozilla. "When coupled with WebGL to render 3D graphics, these APIs transform the browser into a platform that allows VR content to be published to the Web and instantaneously consumed from any capable VR device."

According to Mozilla, Firefox 55's WebVR virtual reality technology will be enabled by default only on Microsoft Windows systems, supporting the Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE VR headsets, but they plan to extend it to other supported platforms, such as macOS and maybe GNU/Linux in future versions of the web browser if it turns out to be very popular among users and developers alike.

New screenshot tool, search suggestions enabled by default, and more

Firefox 55 could also come with the new screenshot tool that lets users make screenshots of web pages enabled by default, though Mozilla said that this feature would undergo A/B testing so that it won't be available to all users. Screenshots can be saved locally or uploaded to the cloud. Firefox 55 will also enable search suggestions by default for users who have not yet explicitly opted-out of them.

Among other improvements that Mozilla prepared for the next major release of its Firefox web browser, we can mention the ability to instantly restore huge browsing sessions with a large number of tabs, support for printing jobs from within the Print Preview dialog, the ability to move the sidebar (bookmarks, history, synced tabs) to the right edge of the window, and support for searching from the location bar with any of the installed search engines.

It also looks like there will be a new Options page under Preferences in Firefox 55 to allow users to fine-tune their web browser's performance. Additionally, users will need to manually activate the Adobe Flash plugin, which will only be allowed on http:// and https:// URL schemes. A first Beta of Firefox 55 is now available for download on GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems if you want to take it for a test drive.

Firefox Screenshots

Firefox Screenshots

Capture just what you want

Capture just what you want

Capture screenshots as you like it

Capture screenshots as you like it
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