Facebook Spaces allows users to hangout with their friends in VR

Posted April 20, 2017

CNNTech tested out Spaces at F8. You can drawn, watch 360 degree videos, share photos and take selfies.

The app is now available for free on the Oculus Store, though this is the only place it's now available mostly due to its use of the Oculus Rift's Touch Controllers. The release of Facebook's new VR app for the Oculus Rift, called Facebook Spaces, brings spending time with others to the virtual world. When you grab a video from that menu, it'll appear as a small orb in your virtual hand. That avatar is then dropped into a roundtable environment with a number of different tools at your disposal, accessible from a panel under your wrist and from a console in front of you on the table. This could be a paraglider flight over the Yosemite Valley, a bird's eye view of Barcelona, a look at The Shire in New Zealand, or swimming with sharks under the ocean. You'd be sitting before the computer screen twisting yourself into a knot when it'd actually feel like you were really only a part of the fictitious city of San Andreas, wreaking havoc. Your touch controller will act as a pen which allows you to draw in the virtual world.

Facebook announces launch of VR app Facebook Spaces for Oculus at F8 conference.

Every tool and feature ran almost flawlessly in my demo, and while there wasn't anything overly complex, the experience was enjoyable in its simplicity. I'm not sure if there are any "best features". But he added, "Even with these tailwinds, we should all be very skeptical on virtualized life as very little of it has stuck". As mentioned in the beginning, it simply taking the whole social networking experience to the virtual reality level. For example, Subway is now enabling USA customers to pre-order at 26,500 locations, while the Golden State Warriors NBA team now has a bot that will send fans live scores video highlights and make it easier for fans to connect with each other.

Facebook Spaces also enables users to phone in a friend form the real world with Messenger video calling. The connection was strong, the audio sharp, and I was impressed with the all-around quality of the video feed.

Facebook has created a virtual space for Facebook friends to meet and interact using virtual reality "as if you were in the same room". "We just want to show that you're talking". But it's a great way to bring people who don't have a virtual reality headset into a VR environment, blurring the lines between the virtual and physical for a practical goal. Things like having billboards in the environment backdrop you choose could be one such suggestion.

The Spaces VR app is now being made available only on the Oculus Rift in the Early Access section but is expected to make its way to other platforms in due time. The only point is you won't be able to control anything in the space.

Hey, remember M? Wouldn't blame you if you forgot about it. Facebook's mobile AI assistant often gets overshadowed by Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri. It's too soon to know whether or not social VR will help the industry move more mainstream. While it built off similar experiences, like the existing Oculus Rooms feature for Gear VR and Oculus' Toybox demo from two years ago, Spaces was freaky and powerful enough to get everybody talking about what the future of VR technology could enable. You have no concept of "you" except when you take a selfie or look in the mirror.

The rift microphone can be used to voice interact with the avatars in the Spaces.

Among other offerings, there are games, including VR Sports Challenge, a sci-fi first-person shooter game named Arktika, and The Unspoken, which has been described as an "urban magic fight club".

"This will really need to work seamlessly and be more than a novelty to encourage people to come back", she cautioned. To fill in some of the gap, Facebook Spaces steps in. In this software, platforms will be available on the Facebook application that brings together augmented reality (AR) using artificial intelligence (AI) with virtual reality (VR).