SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Facebook wants you to sit in your bedroom wearing a headset and take a virtual vacation with faraway friends and family. Will Facebook Spaces be the future of communication?
While there is virtual reality hardware, there still is a dearth of VR-based content. During a live streaming event, users can comment with hashtags and the broadcaster can pick one of them and show a GIF related to that hashtag during the live stream.
Facebook’s interest in augmented reality seems to be eclipsing its virtual reality ambitions, including the Oculus Rift headset, although Zuckerberg said the two would go “hand in hand”.
At launch, Facebook has signed up select beta partners at launch including Electronic Arts (for Mass Effect: Andromeda), GIPHY, Manchester United, Nike, Real Madrid, TripIt and Warner Bros (for Justice League) for its AR Studio tool.
Facebook Spaces enables users to create their own avatars. From there, you can customize the look of your avatar by changing things like eye color, hairstyle and facial features to best match your identity. Using the Touch, you can draw in the air to create anything you want. It will make it possible for more than one person to interact with a third party app or business at the same time. Facebook, however, is quick to acknowledge that the app is still bare bones.
Facebook is also investing more in games.
The company also unveiled a new feature called “spaces”, which allows users create 3-D avatars, then “meet up” with other users’ avatars in a digital world. “Whether you want to show off your latest 3D drawing masterpiece, play an fantastic 360 video your friend would love, or just spend time chatting, it’s one of the best ways to be in the moment together, from anywhere”. Going forward, Facebook plans to extend the app to other platforms. To demonstrate, Zuckerberg revealed a visual concept showing the Facebook camera recognizing a number of objects in real-time, making it an interactive item like a green plant sprout flowers, or a real-world bottle of wine displaying extra information like its vintage and location of production.