September 25, 2015
Facebook introduced a new 360-degree spherical video feature this week for the social platform’s newsfeed. At launch, users can roam an immersive trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by dragging their mouse over the video in order to access different vantage points. Mobile users can change their angle within clips featuring NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and workouts by NBA star LeBron James by simply tilting their smartphone or swiping their finger across the screen.
The offer is currently only available for Google’s Android phones, but Facebook indicates that an iOS version will be ready within a few months. Discovery, GoPro and Vice “have also signed on for the first version,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
Facebook, which spent $2 billion last year to acquire Oculus VR, “is attempting to get its users hooked on virtual reality — technology the company has bet big on.”
WSJ notes that the new spherical videos “will eventually be available for private users, and as a new advertising feature for companies.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described virtual reality as the next “computing platform” after mobile devices. The company is also developing a separate VR video app.
Facebook 360-Degree Video Shows You How to Work Out Like LeBron James, Wired, 9/23/15