Social media giant Facebook became heavily involved in virtual reality (VR) when it bought Oculus way back in 2014. Since then the company has added 360-degree video and picture capability to its online offerings but never a dedicated immersive app. That’s changed this week with the introduction of Facebook 360 for Samsung Gear VR.
While Gear VR users have been able to view a variety of 360-degree content, now they can directly access Facebook’s massive collection,with more than 25 million 360 photos and more than 1 million 360 videos posted to date.
Designed as a one-stop shop for viewing the latest immersive content, from amateur home movies to professional documentaries and more, the app will feature four feeds to investigate. There’s Explore, Following, Saved and Timeline. Using Explore, users can discover the latest and most popular 360-degree content from around the world. While Following showcases content from friends, as well as Pages and people that users follow. For favourite pieces, Saved houses those that users have kept from their News Feed to view at their leisure. And Timeline enables users to relive their 360-degree memories, whether through video or picture uploads.
In the Facebook 360 app, users will also be able to comment on 360-degree photos and videos and share them on Facebook, with more social features coming soon.
This year has seen Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg appoint ex Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra to head Oculus, and show a sneak peak behind the doors of Oculus Research, showcasing some of the latest developments Oculus scientists and engineers are working on to advance VR and augmented reality (AR).
The Facebook 360 app is freely available to download from the Oculus Store for Gear VR. It’s not yet confirmed if the app will be coming to Oculus Rift, but Facebook has said in a blog posting it hopes to bring the app to more platforms. When it does VRFocus will keep you updated.