Facebook plans to roll out 360-degree video for Facebook Live users in early 2017, the company announced today.
Facebook has supported 360-degree video since this Star Wars trailer made its premiere in September 2015, but it was not an option for Facebook Live users.
“Live 360 video will be available to more Pages via the Live API in the coming months, and we look forward to rolling it out more broadly for all Pages and Profiles next year,” said Facebook product manager Supratik Lahiri and software engineer Chetan Gupta in a blog post today.
A preview of the change to come will be broadcast at 12 p.m. PT Tuesday by National Geographic at the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah. There, eight scientists who have been isolated for 80 days will emerge to give a live tour of their living quarters and take a ride on rovers made for the red planet.
Facebook lags behind major competitor YouTube, who rolled out 360-degree live video support two weeks ago, but the Facebook Live that people use today is very different than the one available to users at the start of the year.
You can now stream live video to groups and event listings. Creatives can now stream up to four hours of video, make live videos in full screen, and geo-fence videos for precise location. Live video has been added to Facebook Workplace and Facebook’s Signal app for journalists.
Last month, Facebook started tests to add neural network-trained artistic styles (think Prisma or Artisto) to Facebook Live videos.