On September 2015, Facebook unveiled its collaboration with its Oculus division bringing 360-degree videos to the News Feed for PC and Android users. Two months down the lane, on November 12, the social media giant has announced the availability of this feature for iOS devices with 360-degree ads coming to the table soon.
The 360-degree video feature allows users to watch certain videos from any angle they want, simply by tap-dragging and moving the camera. They can also hold the phone upward and watch the video from all 360-degrees as they turn. The videos are created using special cameras that record all 360-degrees of a scene simultaneously, moving the point-of-view around.
“360 video is a completely new experience because you can move the camera around. This opens new ways of sharing experiences and makes you feel like you're part of what you're watching. It's a step towards even more immersive experiences." says Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook in one of his posts.
GoPro, Vice and Walt Disney have already published 360-degree content in response to the announcement. Facebook says there are more videos from the likes of BuzzFeed, Nickelodeon, and ABC News to be released soon. To further stoke the 360-degree video craze, Facebook is launching a micro site dedicated to providing filmmakers with all the tutorials, instructions and support needed to make 360-degree videos and ads.
However, at present, the concept of 360-degree ads is only being tested among a select group of major enterprises. Facebook also claims to be partnering with camera manufacturers including Theta, Giroptic, and IC Real Tech to create in-app "publish to Facebook" options for their 360-degree kit.
Regardless of the selective ad testing, 360-degree videos can normally be uploaded by anyone. Facebook has introduced new options for page owners wanting to upload 360-degree videos. These initiatives enhancing the 360-degree video feature manifest Facebook’s effort in popularizing the format to the fullest. Zuckerberg says, “We think people will share lots more 360 content in the future, especially as technology makes it easier to record it themselves. We're excited you can discover them on Facebook.”