A Closer Look at Facebook Spaces, the Company's First Social VR App

Zuckerberg imagines AR experiences breaking down into three major categories: augmenting objects in the physical world with additional information, layering virtual objects onto reality like a board game or a television, and enhancing objects that are already there with extra effects.

That's especially true for the Spaces app, since relatively few of Facebook's 1.9 billion members are using Oculus's VR headset, which sells for about $500 and requires an expensive computer to make it work.

Facebook has added a selfie stick to Spaces as well.

For a company that began as a way for college students to see pictures of each other, Facebook's move toward augmented reality represents another step in its long evolution. It's now in beta; you can download it for free and purchase the VR headset.

"For those of you who have watched us roll out cameras across all our apps and have asked what we're doing, that was act one". This helps people recognize you and makes VR feel more like hanging out in person. After picking the one you want, you can customize it by changing your eye color, hairstyle and other features. The app is free on the Oculus store and uses the Touch controllers to track your hand movements.

Facebook Spaces isn't the first virtual reality social network.

Last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook's 10-year road map that calls for powerful technologies to radically alter how people connect with friends and family and the world at large. You'll also find the rich variety of Facebook content at your fingertips to view with friends in VR, including 360 videos and photos that can transport you to new places.

Eventually, he said, people would use augmented reality on eyewear, although he did not give any details about possible Facebook hardware.

You can also remove your friends from your space, and pause or mute if you need to take a break from the virtual world. Facebook isn't the only corporation getting in on these new developments, but it's definitely the one investing the most into it. "VR is a naturally social platform, and we are building it with people at the center", said the company's head of social VR Rachel Franklin.

  • Arturo Norris