Facebook launched a virtual reality office workspace Thursday as part of CEO and co-founder Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergEx-Facebook data scientist to testify before British lawmakers A defense for Facebook and global free speech Senate Democrat calls on Facebook to preserve documents related to whistleblower testimony MORE’s “metaverse” plans for the social media giant.
Facebook’s new “Horizon Workrooms” is a virtual reality application that runs using its Oculus VR headset. Zuckerberg announced, and demonstrated, the new feature in an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle KingGayle KingR. Kelly accuser tells Gayle King their interview was a wake-up call Nate Burleson makes leap from football to news with 'CBS Mornings' Witness says R. Kelly kept watch over girlfriends during Gayle King interview MORE.
“It’s this pretty amazing experience where you feel like you're really right there with your colleagues,” he said.
The application allows users with the headset to join together and gather around a virtual conference room or other office space to collaborate. Those who don’t have access to the virtual reality technology can connect through video conferencing.
The launch comes as businesses, including Facebook, are pushing back office reopenings amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant. But Zuckerberg said the company started work on the program before the pandemic, and that Facebook has already been using the virtual reality application internally.
Zuckerberg said that in the future, the access can allow people to work from home or different locations without missing out on opportunities that may be traditionally located in cities such as New York or Los Angeles.
Horizon Workrooms is part of Zuckerberg’s plans for a “metaverse,” which he described as “an internet that we are a part of, or that we can be inside of."
"Right now, I think people think about us as a social media company, and understandably. But I think, you know, five years from now, if we do our job well here, people will think about us primarily as a metaverse company,” he said.
Facebook’s plans to expand, however, come as regulators in the U.S. and globally take a closer look at the tech giant’s market power.
Facebook’s acquisitions, including of Oculus virtual reality glasses, has come under scrutiny. The company’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram have also been a source of concern for regulators, including by the Federal Trade Commission, which is suing Facebook in an effort to restructure the company.
Facebook has pushed back on allegations of anticompetitive behavior.