By now you’ve probably heard the news about Facebook becoming Meta. But what does that actually mean for its users?
First of all, Facebook as you know it is not changing its name. Meta is the new name for the Facebook family of companies, including Facebook, Instagram, and What’s App, as well as their new projects moving forwards. So don’t worry, the individual social platforms won’t be changing anytime soon.
According to their website, “the metaverse is the next evolution of social connection. Our company’s vision is to help bring the metaverse to life.” ‘Meta’ is a prefix usually meaning change, very appropriate for reinventing a company. Last week, the leader of the Facebook empire took to the web to announce the new name and a number of new features.
One of the biggest announcements from CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his keynote presentation was about the addition of 3D spaces within the Metaverse. Zuckerberg says that “3D spaces in the metaverse will let you socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what we can imagine.” Social media has grown from text to photos, to video, and this new vision for immersive social media includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and even wearable technology.
Virtual reality has been in the works for a number of years, but Meta’s vision goes beyond video gaming. Using their Quest products, users would be able to enter virtual classrooms, workspaces, and more, offering experiences that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Of course, there are still some VR games in the works as well.
Augmented reality has also already been floating around social media for some time in the form of photo and video filters, particularly on Snapchat. Meta is currently working on a new program for creators, Spark AR, that would allow artists to create new AR filters as well as working with artists and museums to build augmented reality experiences.
Always ahead of the game, Snapchat tested out their Snapchat Spectacles a few years ago, but the technology never really took off. Meta announced they are currently developing their own version of wearable technology, Ray-Ban Stories. The glasses would allow wearers to record audio and video, listen to music, and answer phone calls.
Overall, the self-proclaimed goal of the Metaverse is to focus on how technology interacts with people, putting people at the center of technology, not the other way around. They’re committed to online learning, global collaboration, and responsible innovation, and Zuckerberg hinted at more announcements to come in the future.