Facebook is currently mired in scandals, but it tried to shift public attention towards the future today, specifically, a future that revolves around an even more ubiquitous Facebook.
Today's Facebook Connect conference saw chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, and Andrew Bosworth (head of Reality Labs), outline a larger vision for the metaverse. This was part of an effort by Facebook to encourage developers to create more apps and features for its metaverse. Zuckerberg also announced that Meta would be the new name of the company, a reference to his vision for the future in virtual reality.
Zuckerberg stated during the virtual presentation that the next internet platform and medium will be more immersive. It will allow you to feel the experience instead of just looking at it. Zuckerberg said that the metaverse will allow people to meet up with their friends and families to learn, play, work, shop and do other things that they can do using flat 2D screens such as our smartphones and laptops. But that Facebook's (Metas), vision of the metaverse is more than what we are currently experiencing.
Facebook's next step in its long-running land grab for online attention is the building of the metaverse. Critics of Facebook find it alarming that Facebook could be synonymous with the next major phase of the internet. This is especially true as the company struggles with content moderation and privacy issues around the world.
Facebook's claim to the metaverse raises questions about the openness of this next iteration. While Apple and other tech companies are being criticized for their closed ecosystems by Facebook, Oculus continues to showcase experiences that are only available to its Oculus virtual reality devices.
The Meta Deets
Scrolling through the metaverse. Meta
Bosworth, Zuckerberg, and a virtual parade made up of Facebook Reality Labs executives crafted a loose vision today of the metaverse. It highlighted different elements, from app platforms to hand-gesture tech to prototypes for VR headsets, AR glasses, and other technologies. They claim that all of these elements will eventually be combined to create a new digital presence. The expansion of the Horizon Workrooms app was shown in August. There were also demonstrations of a VR version of Zoom and a social version of Quest Home in Oculus Quest VR headset. Fitness features were enhanced for Oculus Quest. Finally, support was provided for non-3D apps within Facebook's virtual environments. It is notable that the 2D app support was included, although it is difficult to predict how useful these apps are until they become widely available. The idea behind the VR headset is that you don't need to remove it to check Slack or Instagram. These apps will be available as flat panels in the virtual environment.