Facebook is rolling out support for 360-degree videos on its social network. The company revealed that web and Android users should begin to see these new video formats within their News Feed soon, but support within its iOS app will be coming soon. The first publishers that will be supporting this include Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, Saturday Night Live, Vice, and Star Wars.
The idea behind 360-degree videos is to help users become immersed in a unique experience. To start things off, the Walt Disney Company released a video that absorbs you into the Star Wars universe leading up to the December release of the series’ newest chapter, The Force Awakens. Others include GoPro and its latest video showcasing sand dune jumping with Ronnie Renner.
“With more than four billion videos viewed daily on Facebook, we have an opportunity to bring the excitement of 360-degree video to a vast new audience,” said GoPro’s Senior Vice President of Entertainment Zander Lurie in a statement. “360-degree video represents a compelling way for GoPro to bring people into new worlds and experiences like never before.”
If you’re viewing these videos on your desktop, just move your cursor on the player to glance around. However, if you’re on a mobile device, what’s interesting is that you don’t have to move your finger across the screen — it moves as the device moves. So turn to your left and the video will reciprocate that movement to show you what’s in that direction.
While initially available to a select group of publishers, Facebook did say that it will be making this feature available to more people in the future.
Facebook’s foray into this space isn’t surprising and definitely not new. YouTube does support 360-degree videos, but what’s unique about this for Facebook is that it plays well into the teleportation stations that were unveiled at the company’s F8 developer conference earlier this year. In fact, during F8 Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had teased support for these videos was coming. While the initial set of publishers isn’t focused on travel, this immersive video technology could let users become absorbed in the experience and connect with people in other parts of the world or fans of certain topics and issues.
Want to take a look at how 360-degree videos look in the Star Wars universe?