Facebook Spaces Brings Social VR to Oculus Rift

Posted by at 4:38 pm on April 18, 2017

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the company’s annual developer conference on Tuesday by sharing his vision for the future of the world’s largest social network, but not before acknowledging that Facebook’s new features sometimes fall short.

Zuckerberg took the stage here one day after a Cleveland man, 37-year-old Steve Stephens, posted a video of himself on Facebook announcing his intent to commit murder and then shooting and killing an elderly man.

“We have a lot of work, and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening,” Zuckerberg told the audience.

¬†On Monday, the company said Stevens’s account was not disabled until two hours after it first received notice of inappropriate content, and pledged to quicken its response times.

Now if f you own an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Starting today, you can download a beta version of the new Facebook Spaces, a one-stop app for sharing photos, videos, and other content with friends online.

Designed to be used with the Touch controllers, Spaces lets you create an avatar of yourself, complete with custom eye colors, hairstyles, and facial features. The avatars can then create and enter virtual rooms with other avatars that your friends create, joining in activities as diverse as playing tic-tac-toe (by drawing your own 3D game board with a virtual marker) to putting yourself in the middle of a 3D video.

“We’re all about extending the physical world online,” Zuckerberg said. “Augmented reality is going to help us mix the physical and digital in all new ways.”

Facebook’s head of VR, Rachel Franklin, made it clear that Spaces is a “very early version” of what she hopes will eventually be a new way for people to connect online. Franklin, who was previously executive producer of The Sims, noted that Spaces can already access Facebook’s entire library of 360-degree videos. She said the company plans to expand it to other VR platforms in the future.

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