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Facebook launches new virtual reality app

20 April, 2017, 08:45 | Author: Nadine Todd

"Think about how numerous things you use [that] don't actually need to be physical", Zuckerberg told Recode in an interview where he outlined his broader AR vision, which includes AR glasses.

After customizing your options to make your picture fit perfectly into what you want it to be, you can then invite your friends and start experiencing Spaces.

As a technology journalist, I should look at Facebook Spaces with a sense of wonder and excitement, but I just can't convince my brain that it's either wonderful or exciting.

The product, called "Spaces," lets users create a digital avatar based on their actual Facebook profile photo, and interact as that person in a virtual world where they can meet other real-world friends.

A Facebook Space is where those virtual avatars interact. With Facebook Spaces, users can draw in the air with a virtual marker or watch Facebook content, including 360 videos and photos in VR with friends. The experience takes in a world of cartoons and avatars, where you can design and customize to look identical to you. But what is Facebook Spaces and how do you use it? In a short time, we are travelling on a bi-plane, drawings images that we can share with each other for lasting memories. The beta version of the app is available now from the Oculus Store for free.

On Tuesday, we saw the future of virtual reality on Facebook. In my demo with Spaces, a Facebook employee pulled up the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi on a large virtual flatscreen floating in front of us. "AR is going to help us mix the digital and the physical in new ways, and make our physical lives better", he wrote in a Facebook post.

All this said, Facebook Spaces isn't ideal. Facebook said it's only just beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible with Facebook Spaces. You'll need the Rift Touch controllers, which retail at $100 a pair, to use Facebook Spaces.

Facebook Spaces is coming more than three years after the social media giant acquired Oculus.

Considering how aggressive Facebook has been in cloning Snapchat features, by adding selfie filters and the "Stories" format across its apps - this latest announcement may be a part of the social network's continued takedown strategy of the popular photo app. You know the uncanny valley? So, in case you don't have a VR and your friend has one, you can call your friend in Messenger. We also got a glimpse of the improved avatar system, and the company introduced the party system that lets you bring a group of your Facebook friends into the same virtual environment for virtual social events.

Spaces is available today, and you can find it in the early access section of the Oculus Home storefront. The final product seems to share many of those core features.

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