Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Facebook in virtual reality move

Facebook is to begin supporting virtual reality on its newsfeed, with users able to put on an VR headset and explore a virtual location.

The social network announced that users will be able to view videos filmed with multiple cameras, and move the viewpoint in order to explore a location.

The innovation is being showcased at the firm's F8 developers' conference in San Francisco under the name Teleportation Station - a name that was leaked via an app notification this morning.

The social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg also announced that users will soon be able to share content from third-party apps in their Messenger - Facebook's instant messaging service.

"One of the fastest growing and most important members of our family is Messenger," said Mr Zuckerberg.

"Facebook used to be this single blue app and it did a lot of different things, now Facebook is a family of apps," he said. "Moving from being a single service to a family of apps is the biggest shift we've made in our strategy in helping connect people."

The Messenger Platform was also launched, allowing developers to build new services into the app, which is used by 600 million users each month. Mr Zuckerberg said it would give users "more tools for expression".

The new Platform will give users the chance to communicate directly with businesses, for example to change an order as well as track its delivery.

Facebook's David Marcus, vice president of messaging products, took to the stage to confirm that apps like ESPN have already built apps that will now be supported in Messenger. Over 40 apps will be launched in the coming days, he confirmed.

The initial kit for developers to build their software into Messenger will be available from today, though no general release date has yet been confirmed.

Mr Marcus also spoke of Facebook's desire to revolutionise online shopping by allowing users to receive real-time shopping updates via Messenger. This will start a message thread with the brand a user has shopped with, so they can track and alter an order via an instant message conversation. Users can then send a thumbs-up to confirm an order.

It will begin rolling out in the "next few weeks", according to Mr Marcus.

"It's time for us to reinvent how people and business communicate," he said.

Ilya Sukhar, from the social media site's Parse department, the area of Facebook made for developers, also announced that the social network will begin supporting software development kits (SDKs) for the 'internet of things'.

This is the idea that all a person's smart devices can be connected together, enabling developers to create apps for Facebook that can control part of the home. The example of receiving a notification when a garage door is opened was demonstrated on-stage.

The F8 developers' conference, which is being attended by more than 3,000 Facebook app developers, is the social network's only major live show of the year.

The company, which has more than 1.3 billion monthly users, also unveiled a range of new tools for advertisers, including new analytics tools to monitor ad campaigns.

"All of you are the ones building the services that are unleashing this new wave of expression," said Mr Zuckerberg, as he returned to the stage.

"It's really our honour to serve you and to be on this journey together. Let's go connect the world," he said.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph