Facebook recently announced its next phase of immersive content. The social media platform has launched its Facebook 360 app for Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus. Users will be able to catch up on news feed updates and experience 360 photos and videos in a new capacity.
The app ushers in a new chapter of content engagement. Facebook said the app will feature four feeds. “Explore aids users to discover some of the most interesting and popular content on Facebook, media organizations and individual creators,” the company noted. Users will also be able to experience content posted by Pages users follow, Facebook friends and people users follow; revisit saved content on news feeds for a more convenient time, and experience timeline memories in a new manner.
The release of the app suggests a huge opportunity for retailers and members of its marketplace to release new product as consumers become more familiar and at ease with the technology. If introduced strategically, the app stands to rival Google’s augmented reality service, Google Tango. The search engine released the technology recently with Gap — displaying its functionality to virtually try on outfits through the tool.
Virtual and augmented reality has budded as a potential marker for new shopping experiences, a must dictated by consumers. As retailers struggle to forge ahead and satisfy diversifying demands, brands and retailers are scrambling to satisfy these shifting expectations while deploying technology to better understand the behaviors of individual shoppers and larger trends, as well. VR answers both of these conundrums: shoppers can receive a personalized shopping trip while retailers are able to capture their response to new products before shipping inventory to a physical store location.
Facebook’s virtual reality foray hasn’t been smooth sailing. The social media platform was ordered to pay $500 million to ZeniMax, the parent company of ID Software. The cofounder of ID Software’s games Doom and Quake video games, John Carmack is now the chief technology officer of Oculus and reportedly violated nondisclosure agreements that resulted in the lawsuit. With the legal battle settled, Facebook’s virtual reality technology looks to inform consumer readiness of the technology in numerous categories.