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Facebook on the future of virtual reality apps, mobile and video news

Social networking
giant Facebook believes that one day we’ll be able to connect with friends in virtual
reality (VR), so users can eventually experience someone’s vacation as though
they’re right there with them.

Social networking
giant Facebook believes that one day we’ll be able to connect with friends in virtual
reality (VR), so users can eventually experience someone’s vacation as though
they’re right there with them.

On Tuesday, speaking
at the Code/Media
conference
at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Facebook Chief Product
Officer Chris Cox divulged that Facebook has its own plans to embrace virtual
reality.

Cox said
Facebook is already developing virtual reality apps to enhance sharing,
providing a fuller picture of what the social network is doing. “I mean,
virtual reality is pretty cool. We’re working on apps for VR,” Cox told Re/code.

Last year, the
company acquired virtual-reality technology company Oculus VR for $2 billion.

In the report, Cox
discussed how film demos created for VR headsets will enable wearers to see and
experience a whole new world, such as the inside of a Blue Angel fighter jet or
a yurt in Mongolia. For example, in the yurt, users can look around to see the
landscape and people nearby, including one woman making food by a fire.
Facebook plans to build on this concept to make sharing even more personal
among friends.

However, there
is no information about when to expect Facebook virtual reality apps and how
they’ll work. “We’re probably a long way from everyone having these
headsets,” Cox added.

Cox also
mentioned that Facebook is making a pitch to media publishers to allow it to
host their content on its social media platform, and help them garner more
eyeballs in the process.

Facebook is
actually having these kinds of discussion with publishers, Cox told Re/Code, to figure out a model that would enable
Facebook to host content that would otherwise go on a publisher’s own website.

Cox said that one
of the challenges for publishers, including Facebook, is that “reading on mobile
is still a crummy experience.” But he believes that Facebook can make it
better.

“Reading news on
a smartphone is still a very bad experience most of the time,” he added, citing
problems like speed and general design. “We want to try and make that a better
experience for publishers.”

However, Cox added
that “these partnerships aren’t coming anytime soon,” Cox also added that he
doesn’t believe publisher websites will disappear in the process. Most
publishers, when needed, can provide a better experience for their readers than
anyone else on the Web. Facebook can simply help them reach a larger audience.

Cox spoke about the
company’s revamped video efforts, which include autoplay videos in the News
Feed, which have been a “massive success.”

He described
Facebook video as a “window” you peek into throughout the day; YouTube, on the
other hand, is more of a library where you go to search for video content. He
believes the two platforms can coexist.

The company wants
people and brands creating video exclusively for Facebook. It’s not, however,
willing to pay them for this — yet.

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