Facebook has been increasingly upping the ante on video and now the social network is making it easier for to surface 360-degree videos created within its walls.
The company has developed a new app for use with the Samsung Gear virtual reality headset called Facebook 360, which lets viewers to discover publicly-shared content.
Facebook claims that since rolling out support for 360-degree videos in 2015 more than 1m immersive videos and 25m 360-degree photos have been published by users. To help people better navigate this content it has designed what it’s calling a “one-stop shop” to let Facebooker’s catch up on 360-degree posts they may have missed from friends and pages they follow.
The app features four tabs – one of which is called explore and allows users to discover some of the most popular content from media companies, brands and creators. The others serve up content from people and pages users are already following, saved videos and footage from their own timeline.
The app will also encourage viewers to share videos and post reactions to content, using Facebook’s year-old suite of emoji icons.
“We look forward to seeing how people use the app to connect with the people and things they care about,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We’ll continue to improve the experience and hope to bring it to more platforms over time.”
Facebook laid out its ambitions for video at the start of the year, and talking to investors during the company’s end-of-year earnings call boss Mark Zuckerberg said that the company’s VR plan was a “10-year vision”.
“We’re going to keep making big investments in VR content, and I’m excited about what’s coming in 2017, from new games to more immersive educational experiences,” he added.
Facebook snapped up its own VR unit Oculus for $2bn back in 2014, but at the moment the Facebook 360 app will be available only from the Oculus Store on the Samsung Gear headset.
Nescafé and more recently Universal Pictures have been among the brands to run ads in Facebook’s 360-degree format. The latter used the platform to promote 50 Shades Darker, placing viewers in a grand ballroom featured in the movie alongside main character Christian Grey.