Facebook inserts ‘social’ in its virtual reality dreams

New York, Feb 22 (IANS) In its bid to further explore immersive new virtual reality (VR) experiences that will help people connect and share, Facebook has created a social VR team focused entirely on exploring the future of social interaction in VR.

This team will explore how people can connect and share using today’s VR technology, as well as long-term possibilites as VR evolves into an increasingly important computing platform.

The team members will work closely with US-based virtual reality technology company Oculus and other teams at Facebook to build the foundation for tomorrow’s social VR experiences on all platforms.

“We have already helped people connect in a wide variety of ways on mobile devices – ranging from Facebook and Instagram to Messenger and WhatsApp – and now we want to apply that same approach to the new medium of VR,” the social networking giant said in a blog post.

“In the future, VR will enable even more types of connection – like the ability for friends who live in different parts of the world to spend time together and feel like they’re really there with each other,” it added.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks that “VR is the next platform.”

“Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the powet to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re right there’,” said Zuckerberg while speaking at the “Samsung MWC 2016” event in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.

Although the work in VR is still in an early stage and there are a lot of hardware and software challenges that Facebook still needs to solve.

“But we’re encouraged by our progress to date and we’re excited to continue building VR technology that gives people new ways to connect and share,” the company said.

Addressing a gathering at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco recently, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said that turning virtual reality into a business is part of the firm’s 10-year plan rather than an immediate action item.

Echoing her comments, Facebook’s chief financial officer David Wehner said there is much that can be “accomplished with virtual reality” but it is still “very early days”.

“It will take time to develop the ecosystem,” Wehner added.

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