Facebook Using Oculus Rift to Broadcast “Spherical Videos”

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Facebook will be bringing “spherical videos” to the social networking site, in what is the company’s first announced plan for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

Facebook acquired Oculus VR in a huge $2 billion deal last year, though its intentions for their Oculus Rift VR headset were not verbalized. Now it has revealed that they are planned to introduce 360-degree videos similar to Google Street View to the site, which will be able to be viewed with the Rift.

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The social networking company will be using 24 high-resolution cameras that will record footage of various cities and landmarks around the world, which users can then either view on the site using their desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet, or with the VR headset. Facebook has dubbed this their “Teleportation Station,” with users being “teleported” to different part of the globe when they don the headset.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement during the company’s F8 developer’s conference today (March 26th), with him detailing how Facebook status updates first began via text, but will soon progress to both virtual and augmented reality with the help of the Oculus Rift. Though the Rift has yet to have a consumer build, with it still being sold to aspiring developers for the platform for $350, it is expected that it will finally go to retail at some point this year. 

It remains to be seen just how well Facebook will support the Teleportation Station and how many cities, places and landmarks will be available to view using the tech, but exploring different places around the world within the confines of a high-def, panoramic video recording certainly sounds like a fascinating prospect, and while it’s almost certain that Facebook has many other things in the pipeline for the VR headset, this is a great start.