Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

Here’s what Facebook’s metavers are: It’s not an alternative world to help us escape the dystopian reality, a la Snow crash. It doesn’t require VR or AR glasses (at least not first). And, most importantly, it’s not something that Facebook wants to keep to itself. Instead, as Mark Zuckerberg described to the media ahead of today’s Facebook Connect conference, the company is betting that it will be the next major computing platform after the rise of smartphones and the mobile web. Facebook is so confident, in fact, Zuckerberg has announced that it is changing its name to “Meta”.

After spending the past decade obsessed with our phones and tablets – learning to look down and scroll as a virtual reflex – the Facebook founder thinks we will spend more time looking at 3D objects floating around us in the digital world. Or maybe you’re following a friend’s avatar while they’re hovering around your living room as a hologram. It’s basically a digital world layered just above the real world, or a “tangible Internet” as described by Zuckerberg.

Although before he went to the weeds for his great new vision, Zuckerberg was now critical of looking to the future, because Facebook Papers Company Color As an unmanaged behemoth that prioritizes profit over continuous security. While acknowledging the importance of the problems the company is facing, note that it will focus on solving them with “industry-leading” investments, Zuckerberg said:

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

“The reality is that there’s always going to be problems and for some people … they may have the view that there really isn’t a great time to focus on the future … From my point of view, I think we’re here to make things happen and we believe that We can do it and that technology can make things better. So we think it’s important to move forward. “

Considering the extent to which Facebook and Zuckerberg in particular have proven to be unscrupulous stewards of social technology, it’s almost ridiculous that the company wants to buy into our future. But, like the rise of photo sharing and the group chat app, Zuckerberg has a good idea of ​​what’s going to happen, at least in the future. And for all his discussions about turning Facebook into a Metaverse company, he is adamant that he does not want to create a Metaverse that is wholly owned by Facebook. He doesn’t think any other company will. Like the mobile web, he thinks every major technology company will make some contribution to Metavers. He is just hoping to pioneer Facebook.

“Instead of looking at a screen, or how we look at the Internet today, I think in the future you will be in the experience, and I think it’s a qualitatively different experience,” Zuckerberg said. We think like this it’s not a purely virtual reality and it’s not just an augmented reality. But in the end, he sees Metavers as something that will help provide more presence for the digital social experience – the feeling of being there instead of just being stuck in a zoom window. And he hopes there will be continuity across devices, so you’ll be able to start chatting with friends on your phone and join them as a hologram when you slip into AR glasses.

Facebook Horizon Home
A simulated preview of Horizon Home.


But, of course, metavers will not be created overnight. On Facebook Connect today, the company announced various ways to make it more accessible For one, Facebook will transform Oculus Quest’s home interface into a “Horizon Home”, a more fully featured environment where you can invite friends and virtually hang out. Eventually, you’ll be able to create and customize your home space. The Venus app is becoming “Horizon Venus”, where it will continue to serve as Facebook’s premier venue for live virtual events. (The company also said that NBA games will return to the venue in early November.)

The company is also making a big push for developers: its new presence offers a platform API that will allow devs to create more innovative VR apps. The Insight SDK will allow them to take advantage of Quest 2’s camera to bring the real world to VR; The Interaction SDK opens the door to more hand-tracking interactions; And the Voice SDK – you guessed it – lets you use your words in more ways

The Insight SDK, in particular, can reshape what Quest VR experiences might be like. It contains spatial anchors, which allow virtual objects to move across a space session. So if you put a VR pet rabbit on your coffee table, it should always be there whenever you log in to an app. Additionally, there is a visual comprehension feature, which can help developers get a better idea of ​​your physical space. A character talking to you in VR, for example, can walk around your living room without bumping into furniture.

Facebook Polar


When it comes to augmented reality, there are also plenty of upgrades for Facebook’s Spark AR platform. For one, it plans to launch an iOS app called Polar that will allow people to design their own AR effects and objects without any coding. It aims at creators, who can use it to create unique 3D signage or makeup effects that their followers can apply. More experienced devs will be able to create geo-anchored objects that are tied to specific locations in the real world, as well as AR effects that track your hands and body. They may try creating group video chats for Messenger, something that will eventually be supported in other apps.

Like HoloLens and HTC Vive, Facebook plans to push the initiative even further with Quest for Business. This is a way for employees to log in to Quest 2 headset with a secure work account (probably not great for your boss to see how many times you play Beat Saber, Above all). Because they are designed for the office environment, IT departments will be able to manage work accounts, specific devices, and integrate their own security features. The bottom line is that while all of this is going to be accessible on consumer-grade Quest 2 headsets, Facebook doesn’t have to create completely new hardware for the work environment.

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