At the first day of Facebook’s f8 conference, a haven for developers, Mark Zuckerberg introduced something that could be the future of News Feed: spherical videos.
Zuckerberg, in his keynote address, discussed these 360-degree videos that will be coming to News Feeds soon:
You can move around in it and you can change your viewing angle. This is a new and much more immersive type of content. It’s not something that you just consume passively. You’re actually interacting with it and you feel like you’re there. … People already watch more than 3 billion videos a day in News Feed and we’re going to bring spherical videos to Oculus, too. You’re going to be able to put on your headset and just feel like you’re really there.
After testing an Oculus Rift headset, it’s easy to picture yourself immersed in a friend’s spherical video of the Grand Canyon (or even just their corgi playing in the park).
Facebook’s News Feed push in recent years has been away from text and toward more visual communication. Brands have been nudged to share more photos (and more videos) to take advantage of the News Feed algorithm positioning. Now, with auto-play videos, more people are watching video through Facebook.
The spherical videos on Oculus could be the way you check Facebook in a few years. Instead of scrolling through, you can be taken on a journey through friends’ activity. The implications are great for marketers too: someday, sports teams can immerse their fans in a 360-degree experience simply with a video posted to Facebook. Brands can show 3D demos of products.
It’s still early, but Facebook’s efforts with the spherical videos shows why they’ve invested so much in Oculus. Strapping on an Oculus Rift is a weird experience. It feels like stepping into a Pixar movie (or PS4 video game). Things just feel so real. While facing a virtual T-Rex, or standing on the edge of a tall building, you can imagine someday experiencing highly visual content through virtual reality at some day in the future.
With Oculus, Zuckerberg and Co. placed a big bet on the future, thinking that people will be able to check content not just on computers, laptops, phones and tablets — but VR headsets. While time will only tell if the bet pays off for Facebook, the company is doing all it can to position itself successfully.
Readers: What do you think will become of Facebook’s Oculus?
Photo by Praneendra Kuver.