Facebook 360 Debuts On Samsung Gear VR

It's been almost two years since Facebook brought 360-degree photo and video support to its social network. Now the company has released Facebook 360, a new app for the Samsung Gear VR on the Oculus Store, to help make all of that sweet content "even more immersive and easier to discover."

Just don't expect to share your own 360-degree media via the app--Facebook 360 is currently limited to viewing photos and videos, sharing them to your own Timeline, and "reacting" to them with one of the network's six canned responses. (Those being Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.) Facebook said "more social features" will be added to the app "soon" but didn't offer any details about what that entails or when the update will arrive.

The company said in a blog post that Facebook 360 breaks content up into four different feeds:

  • Explore: Discover some of the most interesting and popular 360 content on Facebook from media companies, organizations and individual creators.
  • Following: Experience 360 content that your friends have posted on Facebook as well as 360 content from Pages and people you follow.
  • Saved: Find all the 360 content you’ve saved from News Feed ready for you to enjoy at a more convenient time.
  • Timeline: Relive your memories in a new way through your own 360 photo and video uploads.

One of the media organizations showed off in Facebook's promotional materials is CNNVR, the just-announced VR platform from CNN, which features work from many of the broadcaster's news teams from around the globe. CNN said when it announced CNNVR that its 360-degree videos have been watched more than 30 million times on Facebook alone, so chances are good that the company had Facebook 360 in mind when it created CNNVR.

Not that CNN is the only one posting 360-degree content to Facebook. The company said in its announcement that more than 250 million and 1 million 360-degree photos and videos, respectively, have been published since it added support for the formats. That's a lot of content for people to sift through; no wonder Facebook is trying to make it easier for early VR adopters to find the signal in the noise with something like Facebook 360.

The app is available now from the Oculus Store. It's worth noting that it's not compatible with the Oculus Rift even though Facebook owns Oculus. If you have a Gear VR, though, you can download the app today and start looking for all the 360-degree content you missed in all of Facebook's clutter. Or, if Facebook isn't really your thing, you can also check out some of the 360-degree videos published to the also-just-announced Vimeo 360 service.

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