Facebook is launching its own 360-degree video app on the Samsung Gear VR — the first officially Facebook-branded VR social app released. The app isn’t a full version of the social network. It will show 360-degree photos and videos from your feed and timeline, as well as a more general feed of media companies and selected individuals, and anything you’ve saved from the News Feed on desktop or mobile. You’ll be able to post reactions to videos and share the videos themselves to Facebook, and more social features are supposed to be coming soon.
Practically, this isn’t a totally new option. Facebook 360-degree videos have been appearing in the Gear VR’s video app for quite some time, and you can already log into Facebook and post reaction emoji. (Facebook also owns Oculus, which co-created the Gear VR.) The company has put the Facebook 360 name on a spatial audio platform, and a 360-degree camera setup.
But until now, Facebook hadn’t released anything that could be construed as a version of Facebook for virtual reality. This still isn’t that, but it’s a step toward the future that CEO Mark Zuckerberg sketched out at the last Oculus Connect conference, where he revealed a virtual world that blended VR telepresence with traditional video.