One year after announcing they had acquired Oculus for $2.1bn, Facebook is still championing the medium as the future of computing. At today’s F8 conference in San Francisco, Mark Zuckerberg reaffirmed his belief in the medium, saying he believes that VR/AR content will be the most shared form of content on the web within the next five years. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed the industry in recent months, interest in the medium has swelled and companies like YouTube have already announced support for the kind of spherical content that will eventually become ubiquitous, should Zuckerburg prove to be correct.
Facebook does not intend to be left out of the fray either, as they announced today that they will be adding support for spherical photo and video content directly into the newsfeed. As of now this content will be viewable by dragging a cursor around the video to look around, but with Facebook already confirming they are working on VR versions of their apps, it seems this is a step towards us having a quick and easy way to share immersive content with our friends.
In addition to announcing that they would be adding spherical content support for the newsfeed, Facebook also showed off a “Teleportation Station” app which was essentially a 360 content player from Facebook working on a GearVR. The project was done in conjunction with VideoStitch, a 360 video company which received the “Diamond in the Rough” award at Launch earlier this month. The video played was a livestream from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo park. The stream was smooth apart from latency issues that apply to most technology conferences. As shown, there is no UI in the app, just a video feed, it will be interesting to see if this demo grows into a full fledged experience. As of right now, there is no release date for either the web version or the VR compatible version of the spherical content integration.
UploadVR has boots on the ground at F8 and will continue to update with VR news as it becomes available. Tomorrow Michael Abrash from Oculus will be delivering a keynote at F8 on “Why VR will matter to you.” Might we hear more about the Facebook VR apps this week? We will be there to find out. Make sure to follow us on Twitter for up to the minute updates.