Facebook has today announced an update to the social network’s News Feed which will now include support for 360 video. Revealed back in March during Facebook’s F8 developer’s conference, the company has lined up a number of premium content providers to ‘chum the 360 waters’ so to speak.
360 videos will soon be showing up in your Facebook News Feed, with big names like Star Wars, Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, Saturday Night Live, and VICE publicizing their own branded content via their own pages. But it’s not just for premium content providers—because now you too can upload 360 videos and share them and (gasp) even get ‘likes’.
360 Videos contain on-screen like and share buttons and are currently only vieweable on the web and Android devices. There doesn’t seem to be an option for smartphone VR adapaters like Google Cardboard just yet, but we’re certain that will change. Back at F8, CEO Mark Zuckerberg ensured us that playback of Facebook-hosted 360 videos would be possible on the Oculus Rift.
In a blog post detailing the announcement, Facebook maintains that iOS support for 360 video will be due “in the coming months.” Continuing, they say “[i]t’s early days, but we’re excited about the possibilities for 360 video and hope it helps people explore the world in new, immersive ways.”
In an interview with the Verge, Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox said that “Facebook and Oculus are sharing, … [t]he team that’s working on this, the team that’s working on this stuff in VR, is very fluid in terms of the engineers, the product managers, the designers, sharing backgrounds and skill sets. It’s been a very positive collaboration.”
To get an idea of what sort of content we’re talking about, professional studios like Felix & Paul, known for their work on the Cirque du Soleil ‘Inside the Box of Kurios’ 360 experience, produced the LeBron James 360 video—both of which are done with the extreme care required to remove pesky stitching artifacts that can render a slick-looking video about LeBron James into something janky and hard to watch.
Although we can’t say we’ll be doing much with Facebook’s 360 video integration until they land safely onto VR headsets, it’s a definite step forward in the company’s collaboration with Oculus and signals a concrete desire to bring the two companies closer.