What’s common between Instagram and Oculus Rift, other than that both companies have been acquired by Facebook? The answer lies in the lengthy blog posts by pundits declaring the heavy acquisitions as insane and doubting its revenues. This year Instagram has opened up its ad offerings to the entire world almost and just yesterday Facebook started testing the first ads using a virtual-reality-like format with a handful of brands, including AT&T, Samsung, Nescafe, Ritz, Corona, and Walt Disney World.
Facebook that now registers 8 Million video views daily, has been focusing on 360 degree video from the beginning of the year. “In September we launched the ability to share and view 360 video in News Feed, and since then we’ve seen thousands of unique and exciting 360 videos on Facebook, from all kinds of publishers,” writes Facebook.
These 360 videos can now be viewed on iOS devices, in addition to Android devices and the web. For publishers, this means that people can watch your 360 videos in more places.
Additionally, Facebook has also launched a new 360 video microsite dedicated to providing relevant resources and information. The site includes upload guidelines, common questions, and a set of best practices authored by Chris Milk and Aaron Koplin of Vrse, a leading virtual reality studio. Examples of unique 360 experiences are featured on the site as well.
For Page Admins, Facebook has the ability to edit the initial camera position and vertical field of view before uploading their 360 videos, allowing for greater control in post-production.
To make 360 videos popular and easier to upload among users Facebook is in talks with consumer cameras. “We’re working with several camera makers, like Theta, Giroptic, IC Real Tech, and 360fly which are providing in-app “publish to Facebook” options. Videos taken with these cameras will be shareable directly from the native mobile apps, making it easier to share your 360 moments with friends and family.”
360 degree video is the future and both Facebook and Google know this all too well. What Oculus Rift is doing for Facebook, YouTube is doing for Google.
Earlier this month YouTube unveiled 360-degree virtual reality videos and a virtual movie theater for all YouTube videos, available to anyone with a Google Cardboard headset. The goal is to “democratize virtual reality” and “bring VR to everybody, no matter who you are or what your favorite piece of content is,” YouTube says. “Virtual reality makes the experience of being there even more awesome and immersive.”
Google says some 1 million folks already own the Cardboard viewer. Brands and publishers are keen to try it, Nescafe that has tied with Facebook late last month, is offering fans a virtual tour of its farms through a series of specially filmed interactive spots.
Using the latest version of Google Cardboard, the clips were viewable in 13 countries and allowed users to watch the harvest of coffee cherries in Brazil from a variety of angles.