Facebook 360: The Social Network's First VR Application
Over the past few months, Mark Zuckerberg has been hinting that the Oculus Rift will not be the social media company's only venture into virtual reality. Earlier this week, he made good on this by announcing Facebook 360, a new standalone VR application.
According to Tech Crunch, Facebook 360 is available via the Oculus mobile app. It is basically a large library of 360-visuals that VR players can enjoy. There are currently some 1 million videos and 25 million images that can be viewed. The content is a combination of personal creators and professional producers, such as GoPro, CNN VR, Blend Media and a few others.
The Facebook 360 VR content is categorized into three groups, as Mashable noted. The first is Timeline, where users can store their own shots. Saved, on the other hand, is where individuals will find material that they have saved from the News Feed and Following is items shared by friends. Then there is Explore, which is for popular content.
Facebook 360 is currently compatible with the Samsung Gear VR headset. Individuals can download the application from the Oculus Store. It might seem a little odd that the company is dividing its focus between its own in-house VR company and Samsung's. But as the publication has explained, it might actually be a well thought out marketing plan.
By releasing content that is compatible with the Gear VR, Facebook is able to broaden its VR audience beyond those that use the Oculus Rift. On the other hand, those who do own the Oculus Rift are not being forced to use the Facebook 360, or any of the company's other VR services. However, the publication pointed out that this might change in the future, as it is likely that Facebook accounts and Oculus Rift accounts will one day be tied to each other. At this point, this is all mere speculation as the company has not made any further announcements.
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