Facebook is taking an important step today that could go a long way toward supporting its ambitions in video: allowing videos on its platform to be embedded across the web. Previously, Facebook videos could kind-of-sort-of be embedded elsewhere, but it was never a pretty sight. Facebook has now added an easy way for you to grab an embed code, placing it in a menu at the bottom of the video. That video will also show up in a new — and functional — player.
The video-hosting features that Facebook offers have never really been competitive with YouTube, but with the right work, they could be. Facebook has been going after advertisers and publishers in a big way lately, and adding support for embeds — which allow videos to spread off-platform — is a critical step toward building its video presence. Here's what an embedded Facebook video looks like after today's announcement:
Facebook also announced today that it's going to roll out support for 360-degree videos inside of its native video player. These videos allow viewers to look around the world in all directions while the video is playing. While they're interesting to view on a computer, the real excitement lies in virtual reality. Watch a 360-degree video on the Oculus Rift, which Facebook owns, and you'd be able to naturally look around at the filmed world.
YouTube very recently started supporting 360-degree videos as well. Facebook's support could be viewed as a challenge, but it's arguably more of a necessity. If it wants the Oculus Rift to take off, it's going to have to give people a reason to want to buy one — and 360-degree video, at the very least, is a reason. Here's what a 360-degree video currently looks like on YouTube (you can change your view by dragging around or using the controls in the corner):