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Facebook, which pivots on Meta, also wants to rotate Oculus Quest and AR

By on October 28, 2021 0

The Horizon Workrooms app launched earlier this year. Facebook (Meta) is targeting even more business apps and connections.


The Oculus Quest (soon Meta Quest) started as a head game console, but now its parent company Facebook (renamed Meta) try to push the platform further by connecting with you through VR headsets, AR headsets, metaverse avatars and other ways. The timing for the annual conference focused on virtual reality and augmented reality Facebook Connect conference couldn’t be worse, with the swell of new allegations that Facebook puts profit above the safety of its users. Still, the company has gone ahead this week, talking about new mixed reality tools and tease next-gen hardware.

While the quest never felt like it was so much a part of Facebook, aside from the infamous need for a Facebook ID – future updates that add 2D apps might make it look more like a phone or tablet. It also adds support for work accounts and new mixed reality tools for mixing virtual objects with the real world. Meanwhile, the company is trying to advance phone-based AR tools that collect and integrate more real-world data. Widely talked about, more advanced smart glasses are still in development. The possibilities are intriguing, but privacy concerns are plentiful, along with questions about how these disparate pieces will even fit together.

Mark Zuckerberg, appearing in a Zoom call with reporters ahead of Company Connect’s opening address on Thursday, addressed the company’s latest VR and AR news schedule in regards to the release of the Facebook Papers: “Some people will say that now is not really the time to focus on the future. Right off the bat, I just want to recognize that there are clearly some important issues to work on in the present, and we ‘ take this very seriously, “Zuckerberg said.” But at the same time, the reality is that there will always be problems. And for some people, they may think that there is never really a good time to focus on the future. From my perspective, I think we’re ‘We’re here to create things. And we believe we can do it and that technology can make it better. “

The speed at which VR and AR has progressed in the face of so many issues is exactly what makes the announcements worrying. Yet Facebook (or Meta) also seems determined to continue to make its VR and AR platforms feel essential, especially as competition from Microsoft and others intensifies. The company’s latest metaverse-based goal, first discussed by Mark Zuckerberg in a conversation with CNET in May, is a recognition that the world can’t just work with VR headsets and smart glasses.

And yet, how can a cross-platform metaverse even function properly when the operating systems of phones and computers are all running different types of software? Zuckerberg approached this question in a roundabout way: “One of the things I’ve kind of lamented over the last few years is that I think, all of our computing today, these platforms are designed to run apps, not people. not like you as a person can easily teleport between experiences and bring all your stuff, ”Zuckerberg said. “And I think there is an opportunity to do things differently in the future.”

That seems to mean adding ways for avatars (still cartoonish, but increasingly detailed, with legs and feet in later versions) to jump into virtual meeting rooms or games. But there is still a big disconnect between Facebook / Meta’s VR tools and its AR tools.


Web applications will begin to appear on Oculus Quest. How many, however?


Oculus Quest 2 adds a lot of work stuff

The Oculus Quest 2 is getting a new home hub called Horizon Home, which may be a way for the VR operating system to start evolving into Facebook’s avatar-centric ecosystem. Invitations to people for games and meetings will appear as links that appear on Facebook, such as Zoom links. (All of Quest’s core VR app experiences are renamed as Horizon-related).

2D web apps are also coming to Quest, which will appear as app panes from the VR home screen. Facebook starts with Facebook, Instagram, Smartsheet, Spike, Dropbox, and Slack – and a few more apps, including Pluto, are set to arrive. Previously, Quest had to rely on its built-in web browser or virtual monitor apps connected to a PC for most app-like experiences.

Facebook also creates business account logins in its Quest operating system, which previously were only available on specially equipped retail versions of the device. The professional login feature means you don’t need to use a Facebook login and will work with single sign-on and IDP account management tools. This new feature is slowly rolling out into a limited test this year, but it will be a long time before it hits mainstream – the tools won’t even fully launch until 2023.


Work connections will bypass Facebook connections, but their deployment will be slow.


The end goal of Facebook’s metaverse isn’t so much virtual reality as a pair of advanced AR and VR smart glasses, but without those ready, the company is working hard to evolve the Quest 2 into a mixed reality. New development tools called the Presence Platform will use AI and Quest 2 cameras to recognize rooms and their contents, and overlay virtual objects with hand tracking and voice recognition. These tools all existed on the Quest 2 already in Various shapes, but Facebook is looking to synthesize them so that app developers can model augmented reality on a $ 300 headset.

What does this mean for Oculus Quest as a gaming platform? With the exception of promises of better cloud saves and an easier way to connect with friends and participate in group games, the goal has been to help the Quest 2 do things that ‘he currently can not do. Much of it doesn’t involve games, though the instant connection goal of Quest’s new multiplayer features seems to help with the currently clunky method of gathering friends together in shared VR sessions.


The Quest 2 will mix black and white camera footage with color virtual reality, as seen here in an upcoming demo app called The World Beyond.


Phone AR Adds Space Anchors, Marketplace and Creative iOS App

At the same time, Facebook is rolling out new augmented reality tools to phones, many of which follow a similar script to efforts by other augmented reality-focused companies like Niantic, Snapchat, Google, Apple and Microsoft. This includes adding location anchors (for things like phone scavenger hunts, or maybe location context events), adding hand and body tracking for AR effects and the promise. a deeper repository of 3D objects, with a plan to create a market for 3D assets that will eventually shift from AR to Facebook Horizon brand metavers in VR.


Facebook’s location-based anchors can appear in games and other phone apps.


There is also a new iPhone app in development called Polar which will allow non-programmers to create facial filter effects that can be quickly shared virally on Facebook and Instagram. This will also happen later this year.

But, these AR tools are still phone-based (and Facebook portal), while the Facebook product closest to smart glasses so far is the product without a screen but equipped with a camera Ray-Ban stories sunglasses, released in September.

Tendrils everywhere

If there is one theme to all of these ads, it’s tendrils. Facebook started out by winning people over in VR with games, but the mission from now on is focused on the metaverse. Connecting from one device to another, or from one service to another, is now more important to Facebook than any device. The real question is how many people will be willing to let Facebook be the gateway to all of these worlds?

Facebook expects its metaverse apps to run on other platforms and hardware, through APIs that allow programs to communicate with each other, according to Andrew Bosworth, the company’s head of virtual reality and augmented reality, and future CTO. However, apps that use Facebook’s Horizon-based avatar technology will likely be limited to company hardware or software.

And how much can digital goods or identity travel? It seems to flow, too. “For me, the motto of the Metaverse is continuity, the feeling that when you go from place to place, there are things that allow your identity to go with you,” Bosworth said in a chat. Zoom which was, in particular, not in a VR headset this time. Bosworth views digital assets and friends, as well as identity as an avatar, as important virtual possessions within apps and devices. But not everything can come with you on all platforms, he notes. It remains to be seen how this will unfold.

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