Facebook's Oculus Connect developer conference in San Jose, California had a lot of announcements on the virtual reality front. Facebook announced the $199 Oculus Go and dropped the price of the Oculus Rift to $399. Along with this, Facebook Spaces, the virtual reality hangout app, has got some new additions as well.
According to The Verge, you can now bring your own photos and videos into Spaces. You will also be able to stream 360-degree video from within the app itself. Apart from this, Facebook also announced 3D Posts which are basically interactive 3D objects that can be made using the new creative tools in Spaces. These 3D objects can later be taken out of the Spaces app and posted on Facebook itself.
Spaces will also let you stream its existing library which has 360-degree videos, but these 360-videos cannot be streamed outside of Spaces but only viewed within the app.
You can also illustrate in Spaces using a VR tool called Quill.
Facebook Spaces went live on Oculus Rift earlier this year. Zuckerberg touched upon Spaces again at this year's F8 developer conference. It’s a virtual room into which you can invite up to three of your friends and indulge in virtual interactions. Facebook has apparently leveraged AI to improve upon creating virtual avatars. AI now analyses your photos and suggests avatars that are a better likeness of you. You can also better customise these avatars by tweaking things like the hairstyle, skin tone, etc. Of course, you needn’t pick an avatar that Facebook’s AI chose for you.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced that he wants to get a billion users in virtual reality.
Zuckerberg had used the Facebook Spaces app to virtually tour the flood-hit Puerto Rico. Naturally, this tone-deaf gesture received strong criticism, prompting Zuckerberg to issue an apology. He said that his aim was to show how VR can raise awareness and help one see what's happening in different parts of the world, but the messaging wasn't clear. "Reading some of the comments, I realize this wasn’t clear, and I’m sorry to anyone this offended," said Zuckerberg.
British newspaper Guardian slammed the gesture calling it part disaster tourism and part product promotion.