Facebook’s purchase of Oculus has manifested a little more tangibly. Today at its F8 conference, the social network announced an upgraded version of its internal video player with support for 360-degree videos. The omni-directional uploads are viewable on the Web, where you can click and drag in all directions during playback to see the full view, but the videos are best experienced on virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung’s Gear VR.
The company’s also experimenting with live 360-degree video, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the conference’s keynote presentation. Developers in attendance can view live video at the event from the “humorously named” Teleportation Station, a booth with Oculus headsets.
The launch comes on the heels of YouTube’s own 360-degree video incorporation. Both moves are anticipatory, it could be said. As interest in virtual reality reaches a critical mass, and cameras like the multi-angle VSN V.360 come down in price, it’s only a matter of time before 360-degree video viewing explodes in popularity. However, Facebook has another motivation to push 360-video support: The social network wants to convince customers to buy its brand of virtual reality headset, which will reportedly integrate tightly with elements of the social network.
In unrelated Facebook news, the company announced the ability to embed its videos onto other websites. Previously, only unofficial methods existed, but they usually produced unsightly results. It’s partly a matter of convenience, but also a push by Facebook to grow its advertising business.
Both of the updates are now live. Here’s what an embed of a Digital Trends video from Facebook looks like: