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Oculus looks to improve VR app discovery with content-based search

Oculus is giving builders extra choices for getting their virtual reality apps in entrance of the suitable individuals.

Until now, house owners of Samsung’s Oculus-powered Gear VR headset might solely search for apps by identify. For instance, to discover The New York Times’s NYT VR app, an individual had to sort “nyt” or “nyt vr.” That was fantastic however limiting. People all for an app that may take them to area would have a tough time discovering that the NYT VR included an expertise that put individuals on Pluto. But like Pluto’s planetary standing, that may quickly be up to now.

Oculus plans to roll out content-based app search for Gear VR “soon,” stated Oculus product supervisor Florence Koskas throughout a session on the firm’s annual developer convention on Wednesday.

The rollout of content-based app search ought to assist Gear VR house owners discover extra apps to use. According to Koskas, solely 40 % of queries on Gear VR search for apps by identify, and the remaining 60 % of searches are for content material varieties like “football” or “dinosaurs.”

For Oculus to index apps content material, builders will want to submit “In-App Content Stories” for each bit of content material they want included in search outcomes. Oculus refers to these as “Stories,” however as an alternative of being one other copy of Snapchat’s flagship function, they’re merely variations of a typical app itemizing that may be tailor-made by the developer, as detailed on Oculus’s developer site.

As with a daily app itemizing, In-App Content Stories function an app’s title, description, picture and elective video trailer, however additionally they deep-link to a selected piece of content material within the app. That means, somebody looking “pluto” can choose NYT VR from the search outcomes, faucet to set up the app, after which open instantly into the app’s Pluto expertise.

Manually creating In-App Content Stories could be an excessive amount of work for older apps which have a variety of content material. So Oculus will even supply an API for builders to automate the method. That API started to roll out in beta on Wednesday, stated Oculus technical program supervisor Shirley Ai.

In addition to In-App Content Stories, Oculus unveiled different kinds of “Stories” that builders can fill out to spotlight particular elements of their apps. With Event Stories, builders can showcase scheduled occasions hosted of their app, comparable to a live performance livestream or gaming event. And with Announcement Stories, builders can floor new options of their apps, like new gaming ranges or in-app gross sales.

Unlike In-App Content Stories, Announcement Stories and Event Stories won’t have an effect on how an app seems in search outcomes. Instead they’ll seem inside Oculus Explore, a piece that options apps that mirror an individual’s pursuits, based mostly on the apps they’ve put in. In-App Content Stories that embrace a trailer video may also seem inside Explore, as well as to search, and Event Stories will equally additionally seem in a piece referred to as Oculus Events that highlights time-specific experiences.

While the brand new app discovery options will initially be restricted to Gear VR, they need to ultimately make their method to Oculus’s high-end Rift headset. During Oculus Connect’s opening keynote on Wednesday, Oculus product supervisor Christina Womack stated that Oculus will prolong Gear VR’s Explore part to Rift subsequent yr.

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