Facebook is bridging the traditional and virtual versions of its social network in new ways.
On Wednesday, Facebook unveiled forthcoming features that will bring more of Facebook proper to its virtual reality version, Facebook Spaces, and that will enable people to share 3D virtual objects from Spaces to their 2D news feeds, potentially raising people’s awareness of and interest in VR. The company teased the new features during a keynote presentation at Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus’s annual developer conference in San Jose, CA.
Potentially the most significant announcement was the introduction of a new news feed post format called 3D Posts. Through the format, people will be able to take the objects they create in VR using Oculus Medium — a VR analog to Adobe Illustrator — or Facebook Spaces and share them on Facebook. On Facebook, people will be able to interact with the posts by swiping around them to view a 3D object from different angles, similar to how a person would watch a 360-degree video.
Publish your Medium sculpts from VR to your Facebook feed as dynamic 3D Posts! pic.twitter.com/gQwC3wA28Y
— Medium (@OculusMedium) October 11, 2017
Populating people’s standard Facebook feeds with this virtual fare could help to entice more people to try out VR and even purchase their own headsets, which could address the lack of mainstream adoption that has complicated marketers’ interest in VR.
During a keynote presentation, Facebook’s head of social VR, Rachel Franklin, said that eventually these VR objects would be made available for use within Facebook’s augmented-reality platform, Camera Effects, which currently enables people to apply 3D selfie masks to their photos and videos. Conversely, people will be able to take their 2D photos shared to Facebook and convert them into VR versions, like 3D masks, that can be used within Spaces, Franklin said.
Franklin also announced that Facebook will bring 360-degree live video streaming to Facebook Spaces. The company had rolled out the feature to everyone who uses Facebook proper in March 2017 and will open it up to people using Facebook Spaces by the end of this year, she said.
The rollout of live 360-degree video within Spaces this year will precede the launch next year of a new VR app called Venues for people to watch live sports and concerts within an Oculus headset, such as the $199 Oculus Go that will mark the company’s first standalone VR headset and will also ship in 2018 or its flagship Oculus Rift headset that is now being marketed for enterprise use through the new Oculus for Business program.