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BW Businessworld

Now Hang Out In The Virtual World

Facebook Spaces, which can be downloaded on Oculus Rift and Touch, allows users in different locations to hang out in an interactive virtual environment

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Having consolidated his position in the social media world with his family of apps, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now looking at a new arena to conquer: virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These were the buzzwords at the latest F8 conference held by Facebook.

Zuckerberg is betting big on these technologies, even before people get used to the idea of VR and AR. Recently, Facebook launched a new way of hanging out with friends, through its VR social media platform, Facebook Spaces.

Facebook Spaces, which can be downloaded on Oculus Rift and Touch, allows users in different locations to hang out in an interactive virtual environment.

“Spending time with friends and family creates many of our most meaningful memories, but it’s impossible to always be physically near the people we care about. That’s where the magic of virtual reality comes in. Today, we’re introducing Facebook Spaces — a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room,” a Facebook blog post explained.

Users can create an avatar for themselves on Facebook Spaces on the basis of their photos; invite friends for a hang out; use Messenger video calling; make 3D drawings and play 360 videos as part of the platform.

The blog post added, “We are launching in beta, and we will add new features as we learn from your feedback.”

Snapchat Goes 3D

In a bid to further its push into augmented reality, Snapchat rolled out a new feature called World Lenses. It allows users to include 3D effects from the rear-view cameras: such as a 3D rainbow, clouds, flowers or certain words. The new feature is an addition to Lenses, launched last year, which became so popular, it prompted rival Facebook to copy the feature. A Snapchat blog explained, “We’re adding new ways to use Lenses. While Snapping with the rear-camera, simply tap the camera screen to find new Lenses that can paint the world around you.”

The Rising Spend on Digital

According to a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, digital advertising in the US totaled $72.5 billion in 2016, with the bulk of the money going to 10 companies. The total was up 21.8 per cent from the $59.6 billion advertisers spent on digital advertising in 2015. As per the report, 73 per cent of 2016 revenues during the fourth quarter went to 10 companies, down slightly from 75 per cent in 2015. The IAB declined to name the 10 companies, but a report from eMarketer earlier this year estimated that Google and Facebook dominate digital spending, followed by companies like Yahoo, Twitter, Snapchat and Amazon.

Ramesh Srivats
MD & CEO, 101010 Digital “Good move to ban red beacons. Now, let’s stop exemption from tolls, etc., and restrict VIP culture to suitcases & underwear.”

Aaron Levie
CEO, Box
“What’s happening to airlines is a great case study of why near-monopolies go wrong. Little competition. Little need for great service.”