Facebook Now Offers 360-degree Videos
Facebook enters the realm of virtual reality: the social network giant has just released a tool that will allow users to get the most out of videos that are recorded in 360-degree fashion.
Called 360 Video, this latest Facebook media feature is sure to boost adoption of virtual reality among its members. When you hold your phone up and rotate it 360 degrees, the 360-degree video spins as you move, which shows you every angle of every scene. Users can upload their own 360-degree videos, too. At the launch, publishers such as Star Wars, GoPro, Discovery, VICE and others will start posting their 360-degree videos. Members using Facebook on desktop and Android will see immersive 360-degree videos within days. iOS users, on the other hand, need to wait just a bit: according to Facebook, the feature will be available on iOS devices in the coming months.
“In the future, imagine watching 360 (degree) videos of a friend’s vacation to a small village in France or a festival in Brazil — you’ll be able to look around and experience it as if you were there,” wrote Maher Saba, engineering director of video at Facebook on the company’s website. That is, provided the friend has proper video equipment to create a 360-degree movie.
Analysts say the move suggests that Facebook may one day incorporate virtual reality business Oculus VR into the social network. It can be recalled that Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2.3 billion last year.
Oculus said it will sell its virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift, next year. By offering 360-degree videos now on Facebook, it allows the social network to test what works or doesn’t on this immersive type of video, said Rob Enderle, with advisory services firm Enderle Group.“Often the problem with virtual reality… is you don’t have the content when the hardware arrives,” Enderle said. “Facebook is moving to get content when the hardware arrives.”
Filming 360-degree videos hasn’t been widespread among consumers, because few cameras capture it, analysts said. One camera that has 360-degree video capability, the Ricoh Theta S, sells for about $350.
“More than likely, people will want to see professionally produced content at least in the beginning,” said Brian Blau, a research director with Gartner.
Facebook has been expanding its video efforts, with more than 4 billion video views each day. The company has launches short films based on characters from the popular vampire series “Twilight,” and some YouTube stars are using the social network to promote their videos.
Facebook worked together with Oculus to construct its News Feed that would accept 360-degree videos. The format could allow for immersive videos to be shared and give Facebook’s members a taste of virtual reality.
For more information on Facebook’s 360-degree videos, please visit the following websites: