Facebook working on app dedicated to 360 degree videos

Steven Loeb · September 14, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4012

YouTube's channel devoted to these videos now has over 418,000 subscribers

Facebook obviously has an interest in virtual reality. After all, it did spend $2 billion to buy virtual reality technology company Oculus last year. The company also has a strong interest in video, a sector that it isbecoming very strong in

So, why not go ahead and combine the two?

The company is now said to working on another one of its stand-alone apps, this time a video app that would support 360-degree or “spherical” videos, according to a report out from the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. 

Basically it creates more immersive videos, where the user can view them from a variety of angles, all by simply tilting their phone. They are able to do this by shooting the video with a bunch of different camera (it kind of sounds like the way they filmed the "bullet time" sequences for The Matrix all those years ago).

This isn't the first time that Mark Zuckerberg has brought up the idea, as the company announced in March that it was testing such videos for the News Feed. This is the first time, though, that it has been mentioned as its own separate app, and the Journal is reporting that it would work on both iOS and Android. 

Of course, development of the app is in early stages and it is unclear when, or even if,  the app will ever launch. Maybe something like this does just work as a feature, rather than its own product.

Facebook isn't doing anything all that revolutionary with this. YouTube unveiled its own 360-degree videos back in March. It even has its own #360Video channel, dedicated solely to those videos, which now has over 418,000 subscribers.  

This is important for Facebook for a couple of reasons. First is its interest in video, which has, somewhat surprisingly, become a strong platform for the company. 

In January the company revealed that, in one year, the number of video posts per person had increased 75% globally. That number is even higher, 94%, in the United States. That has amounted to the number of videos, from both users and from advertisers, increased 3.6 times in that span.

Facebook has over 1.2 billion users, and now more than half of them watch at least one video day. Even more impressive is that 76% of Facebook users in the U.S. say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.

Facebook is now serving over four billion video views every single day, up from just one billion in September of last year. 

The other important aspect of this is the huge financial opportunity that exists in virtual reality and augmented reality.

VR is closed and fully immersive, while AR is open and partly immersive. Where VR puts users inside virtual worlds, immersing them, AR puts virtual things into users’ real worlds, augmenting them. Basically VR is something you wear on your face, like Oculus VR, while AR is like wearing something along the lines of Google Glass, where you will still be able to walk around and see the real world around you.

The two spaces, together, are expected to be worth $150 million by 2020, up from what looks to be around $5 billion in 2016.

VatorNews has reached out to Facebook for comment on this report. We will update this story if we learn more. 

(Image source: 360degreefeedbackpro.com)


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