Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014 and after almost three years, the immersive technology appears to have finally got into the hands (or heads) of the masses. At the ongoing F8 (2017) conference, Facebook announced its ambitious product called Facebook Spaces, which essentially brings 3D virtual spaces into the real world. Also Read - Instagram 'Live Rooms' now allows 3 more users in IndiaAlso Read - WhatsApp to let you mute videos before sending, currently testing in beta
While there is virtual reality hardware, there still is a dearth of VR-based content. To fill in some of the gap, Facebook Spaces steps in. It is a VR app where users can experience a virtual environment with fellow users as if they were all together in the same room. The app has been launched in beta for Oculus Rift and Touch today. It is available via Oculus Store. Also Read - What is Facebook Vanish mode and how to use
How Facebook Spaces works
To have the 3D experience through Facebook Spaces, users can begin by choosing one of their Facebook photos to choose their VR appearance. One can change the eye color, hairstyle, and facial features among others to get the VR identity as customized as they desire.
Once you have chosen your appearance, you can then invite other Facebook friends to join you in experiencing the virtual environment. Using the Touch, you can draw in the air to create anything you want. There is also a variety of Facebook content to choose from within the Spaces, including 360 videos and photos. So for example, you can take a 360-degree image of the Taj Mahal and experience the iconic monument with your friend through Facebook Spaces.
You can also relive personal memories from the Timelines, or make new ones from interests, pages, or people you follow. ALSO READ: F8 2017: Facebook launches augmented reality Camera Effects developer platform
One of the highlights of the app is that it isn t limited to VR. Facebook Spaces allows you make a video call through Messenger that allows other users to join the VR space. Once they answer the video call placed through Messenger, they will be led to a window to virtual world. Through this, people in the Facebook Spaces can share their virtual doodles, 360-degree videos, or simply chat. Going forward, Facebook plans to extend the app to other platforms.
It is worth mentioning that the app aims to offer an experience similar to how Microsoft s HoloLens works, albeit without the mixed reality approach. In comparison, HoloLens virtually transforms objects in real-time environment that are interactive.