The Samsung Gear VR Isn’t Just for 360-Degree Videos Anymore

An update to the Facebook 360 App brings access to more content

The video menu in the Facebook 360 App for Gear VR
Facebook

Samsung Gear VR users no long need to exit their virtual reality havens in order to watch non-360 videos.

Facebook announced a major update to its Facebook 360 App for Gear VR that will enable users to watch all videos from Facebook, including shows on Facebook Watch.

The update appears to benefit all sides: Facebook and its Oculus VR unit can keep users captive in their environment, video publishers and creators gain another way for their content to be discovered and users get a convenient path to more video.

Facebook pages can now be searched and followed directly via the application, as well, giving users access to more content—VR, 360 and otherwise—without having to leave the Gear VR.

And the update adds support for the Gear VR Controller, enabling users to easily select, share and react to videos and photos.

When the app launched in March, it provided access to 360 photos and 360 video from friends, pages, followed users and pages, users’ Saved lists and other content they may not have seen.

Product manager Cody Sumter, engineer Genki Kondo and engineering manager Stanley Wang detailed the app’s new video categories in a blog post:

  • Suggested: Videos to explore based on your interests, as well as videos shared by your friends.
  • 360 Videos and Photos: Immersive 360 photos and videos on Facebook from your friends and pages you follow.
  • Live: Videos happening now around the world, including Live 360 videos rendered in 4K.
  • Shows: Users in the U.S. will be able to find and catch up on shows from Facebook Watch.
  • Games: Popular gaming and esports videos.
  • Your Videos and Photos: Video you’ve previously watched on Facebook so you can watch them again in VR, plus videos and 360 photos you’ve uploaded and shared.

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