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Facebook has launched a new SDK that lets developers embed 360 photos and videos into their apps. The VR Deep Link sample SDK has been open-sourced, offering code samples on how to construct an experience from which users will be able to view 360 immersive content that is shared on Facebook, Oculus Video, or Facebook for Android.

Open-sourcing this technology comes days after Facebook released code for its Surround 360 camera that it debuted at this year’s F8 developer conference. In order to use the VR Deep Link sample SDK, Facebook said you’ll need Android KitKat or higher installed, as well as Gradle and the Android SDK with build tools 23.0.3 or above. It appears that right now this SDK doesn’t support iOS applications.

Introduced in late 2015, 360 videos offered users a new perspective for consuming content, bringing the benefits of virtual reality into a space that remains somewhat one-directional. Facebook launched this feature with a trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and since then, more publishers are uploading their videos to the social network. Earlier this year, the company added support for 360 photos.

With a growing number of devices in the marketplace that let you take 360-degree photos and videos, Facebook wants to be the repository for that media. But it also thinks there’s a market opportunity, just like with embedding posts and photos from the social network and Instagram. And it wants to get ahead of others in the space, such as YouTube, which also has 360 video support.


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