Facebook Spaces - Zuckerberg's $2bn Oculus buy finally pays off
Facebook's annual F8 Developer Conference kicked off today, and during the opening keynote presentation, the company launched a new VR social platform called Facebook Spaces that lets you interact in VR with your Facebook friends. Use it to take photos of your experience and share the memories you create in VR with your friends on Facebook.
The tech giant revealed Facebook Spaces, a VR app that enables up to four Facebook friends to meet in VR and interact with one another as if they were in the same room. Facebook, however, is quick to acknowledge that the app is still bare bones. At the time, Mark Zuckerberg noted that VR could be "the most social platform ever", but no one understood what that meant until now.
Facebook says there will be more features added in future. Users can even take "selfies" with a virtual selfie stick and post the "image" to Facebook. To speed up this process, Facebook accesses the last couple of photos that have been tagged with the user's name - but users can also decide to start from scratch, and select the color of their avatar's skin, the shape of their mouth, the hair style and more.
Inside Spaces, users are represented by an avatar, which can be customized. In an interview with Tech Crunch, product manager Mike Booth said: "We eventually want to be on all the VR platforms". Also expect better games courtesy a technology called "SLAM" (simultaneous localization and mapping) that lays a 3-D grid over any object in front of the camera (it can incorporate real-world objects in AR) in front of you, turning it into a game board or a simple table.
Since the feature works for Oculus Rift, you may download it "free" from the Oculus Store. Facebook Spaces, on the other hand, is supposed to be much more widespread. Social networks with avatars have been tried before, and generally people lose interest when they realise the other stuff gets in the way of the social interaction they came for in the first place.
Facebook Spaces includes a virtual marker "to create anything you can dream up", for example a tic-tac-toe board, glasses or a hat. True, taking time out to enjoy nature, get outside, and just talk to people face to face is crucial when it's so easy to do otherwise, but that doesn't mean technology is without its merits.
Facebook Spaces:Questioning eyes existed when Facebook made a decision to purchase the VR company, Oculus. It may sound like an odd idea, and it's not clear how compelling the experience will end up being, but it's actually quite simple: Messenger users would see a live stream of the virtual world of the Rift user's private space, while the Rift wearer would see live video from the Messenger user's phone.
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