Facebook has been lately experimenting with a handful of video options including the one which allows celebrities to stream their videos live for the followers. This time around the social networking giant has been allegedly working on a stand-alone video app, which would support 360-degree or spherical videos. The video footage is usually captured by a camera rig equipped with a series of lens arranged in a circular fashion. The new virtual reality videos will allow users to tilt their phones in order to change their viewing angles, just like how smartphone manufacturer OnePlus did with the OnePlus 2 launch event.
The application will be platform agnostic and it is still in early stages of development making it unclear so as to when the app will launch. Considering the young age of the product, Facebook has declined to comment. As a background, the virtual reality firm Oculus VR was bought by Facebook for a staggering $2 billion and Mark Zuckerberg has been betting on the virtual reality calling it the next “computing platform”.
We are pretty sure Facebook and Oculus are working on a VR headset, but this would automatically restrict the audience to a select few. Mobile app on the other hand – although less immersive – will appeal to a larger sect of audience and help them bring on the VR bandwagon.
Virtual Reality indeed seems to be the next big thing as we are seeing companies toying around with the idea of “VR for everyone”. Google made a foray into the VR arena with its Cardboard last year, Samsung has teamed up with Oculus in order to make the Gear VR headset which will be launched later this year, HTC has partnered with Steam to build VIVE and Sony also seems to be breeding its own headset project called Project Morpheus.
Earlier this year, Youtube had introduced the Jump camera rig, which included 16 GoPro devices capturing 360-degree,3D pictures and videos. YouTube has been hosting these videos and the users can watch it on regular devices along with an option to pan and change the viewing angle within the video. It is yet premature to ascertain how different the Facebook 360 app will be from the YouTube 360, but that being said, Facebook can embed the videos in a much better way since it is more of a social networking website as opposed to Youtube which is primarily a video sharing website.