Facebook launches 360-degree video

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook on Wednesday revealed that it would introduce 360-degree videos to its News Feed. This means that users accessing Facebook on desktop computers or Android phones (iOS is on the horizon) can upload and view “immersive” videos, controlling them with their finger, cursor or by moving their phone.

The first brands to launch with the videos include Star Wars, Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, “Saturday Night Live” and Vice. Because a special camera is required to create a 360 video, average consumers will likely not be creating them any time soon. But Facebook hopes that in the future, users will upload updates that provide 360-degree views of their experiences.

In a post unveiling the update, Facebook said its goal was to connect users with the people and things that matter. “Over time,” the company said, “we’ve seen that people enjoy more immersive content in their News Feeds. This is one reason video has been so successful on Facebook, and we’re excited to take it a step further with 360 video.”

In the short-term, it would make sense for forward-thinking brands to experiment with ways to bring the customer in, whether it’s a 360-degree tour of a new retail destination or filming a fashion presentation with a 360 camera.

At this most recent New York Fashion Week, video was a major component of presenting and reporting on the shows, with designers embracing platforms like Periscope that allow for immediately accessible livestreams. Rebecca Minkoff filmed her show with drones (she’s also created a virtual reality headset), and Cynthia Rowley used video mapping, including footage filmed from drones, in her show. In the past, designers like Isaac Mizrahi have experimented with augmented reality.

“There a whole world of video creators and storytellers who are at the cutting edge of exploring this medium,” Facebook said.

For the time being, users cannot run ad campaigns using 360 videos.

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