Facebook shows spherical, 360-degree videos in news feed

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

360 Degree Video Is Coming To Your Facebook Newsfeed.

At the beginning of his keynote at F8, Mark Zuckerberg gave a preview of something he described as futuristic, before demonstrating the first instance of virtual reality being used on Facebook.Oculus might not have a release date for its virtual reality headset yet, but its parent company Facebook is already thinking about how to incorporate virtual reality into its lifeblood: the newsfeed.Video is the near future of sharing on Facebook, with virtual reality to follow, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the social network’s F8 developers conference today (March 25). The above video was shown on-stage, before the “VR/AR” section of the far-right was shown as an interactive video that the user could move using commands – be it from a mouse, or an Oculus Rift VR headset – creating the sensation a wearer is at the location they are exploring in the video.

What began with text and moved to images and video will become an even richer and more immersive experience, Zuckerberg said, such as virtual reality. (The company last year acquired Oculus VR, which makes such technology, for $2 billion.) On Wednesday Zuckerberg announced a new feature for its social network: support for so-called spherical videos, which allow for a 360-degree view of a moving video, in its News Feed. The next step in video, and the first step to virtual reality, is the coming launch of what’s called spherical video — a composite of clips from multiple cameras that allows you to turn side-to-side or up and down to see other angles of the same clip. Though Oculus is usually demonstrated with games, Zuckerberg predicted that the headset would be even more popular for viewing video — thereby explaining why Facebook dropped $2 billion on a single device that originated as a Kickstarter project.

Zuckerberg chose visual sharing as the kickoff topic for new developments at Facebook and it was a theme throughout the presentations given today. “We have seen a huge growth of video, said Deborah Liu of Facebook’s advertising division, saying that users view more than 3 billion clips every day. Video will be a central aspect of Facebook’s new program that allows apps to share content directly through Facebook Messenger, without having to open the Messenger app. (In essence, Messenger becomes an online network that apps hook into.) One of the first examples was Dubsmash, an app that lets you create dub music by picking a musical beat and singing to it. It doesn’t inspire the same feeling of real presence, but it still captures more of a scene than a traditional camera. “I actually think that video is going to be more engaging (than video games for virtual reality) in a lot of ways,” Zuckerberg said. “This is a new and much more immersive type of content. You’re actually interacting with it and you feel like you’re there.” The Newsfeed videos showcased on-stage at F8 were shot with multiple sets of spherical camera arrays, a setup that lets the viewer “jump” from side to side to gain additional perspective in addition to simply panning around.

As with YouTube videos, it will now be possible to embed clips fro Facebook right in Web pages using the new embedded video player that was announced today. Here’s an example of an image I captured with a Ricoh Theta (which is also capable of shooting video): Zuckerberg said photos have replaced text as the most commonly shared medium on Facebook, and predicted that within five years that will shift to video. That could mean sharing spherical videos and photos with friends across the world, as Facebook revealed today, or creating online worlds and communication apps where people can socialize as if they are in the same room. Zuckerberg didn’t say when Facebook would add support, but it would make sense to incorporate it into the newsfeed soon to drum up interest in Oculus ahead of its consumer launch.

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