PC-powered virtual reality may still be struggling, but phone-powered VR is proving popular. Google’s basic Cardboard viewer has reportedly shipped 10 million units, while Samsung’s Gear VR boasts 5 million shipped units. As such, Facebook - parent company of Gear VR co-builder Oculus - is launching a dedicated VR app: Facebook 360.
Currently only available for the Gear VR from the Oculus site and app, Facebook 360 is a hub for all 360-degree pictures and videos found on the social network. There are four feeds at launch: Explore, for discovering VR content uploaded by media companies, organizations, and individual creators; Following, to see what 360 pics and vids your friends and others you follow have posted; Saved, an easy way to look at 360 content saved from the Newsfeed; and Timeline, to check the VR pics and vids you’ve uploaded.
You’ll also be able to post reactions to the content, as well as being able to save and share it. Facebook said it would be adding more social features to the app soon.
Facebook claims there have been more than 25 million 360 photos and more than 1 million 360 videos posted on the platform to date, so there’s plenty of content for Gear VR owners to explore.
While the app doesn’t offer the “social VR” experience we saw at the F8 developer conference last year, it could encourage more people to create and seek out 360 photos and videos.
Facebook famously paid $2 billion for Oculus in 2014. The company will doubtlessly see the app as part of its grand VR ambitions.