On Thursday, Facebook announced a range of new initiatives in augmented and virtual reality as part of a longer-term endeavour to contribute to the creation of a “metaverse” that will bring people who are physically separated closer together.
The larger picture: Although Facebook has stated that this is its next major push, the corporation is currently under heavy criticism for how it is managing the impact of its existing services.
Details: The firm will use its annual Facebook Connect conference to announce a slew of new features and products, as well as a number of investments to encourage users to adopt new technology. Among these are:
Friends can congregate, watch movies together, and dive into games and apps on the Oculus Quest’s Horizon Home screen, thanks to Facebook’s social-first approach to the virtual reality platform.
Messenger calling in virtual reality: This will begin with the ability to make calls from virtual reality, and eventually it will serve as a launching point for socialising in virtual reality.
Bringing additional 2D apps to virtual reality: More than 20 2D apps will be added to Horizon Home, each of which will have the capacity to be displayed on a virtual screen. Apps include popular productivity tools such as Slack and Dropbox, as well as Facebook-owned services such as Instagram and Messenger. Additionally, developers will be able to offer their own progressive web applications for usage in virtual reality.
To help developers work on augmented reality projects, Facebook is integrating hand and body tracking into its Spark AR developer tools. The company also launched Polar, a new app that allows individuals to build augmented reality filters without the need to know how to code.
Facebook is establishing a $150 million fund to encourage users to take use of its new tools and services.
The big picture: Facebook is pouring billions of dollars into its push into the metaverse. During its earnings call this week, the business stated that expenditures in its augmented and virtual reality projects will result in a $10 billion reduction in operating earnings this year.
The metaverse, according to Facebook, is not limited to augmented reality and virtual reality, accepting that users will access the virtual world through a variety of new devices — such as headsets and glasses — in addition to existing PCs and smartphones.
The social media giant also stated that it intends to develop technologies that would be used in a single metaverse rather than a future in which there are many diverse, isolated virtual realities.
What they’re saying is as follows: In a brief interview with a handful of reporters, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the numerous concerns surrounding the company, but emphasised the need of continuing to invest in the company’s long-term success.
The CEO of Facebook stated that “there are certainly critical topics to be focusing on at the moment.” “That is something we are taking very seriously. We will continue to put our efforts into this.”
While he acknowledged that there will always be difficulties, he stated that “we are here to create things.”