Facebook reveals virtual reality app plans

Facebook is to develop a range of virtual reality apps, allowing social media fanatics to share their experiences and environments with friends.

Facebook's head of product development Chris Cox shared the plans at Recode's Code Media conference, saying one of the projects the company is working on is an app that lets users pilot a Blue Angel aircraft, while another takes users on a journey into a Mongolian yurt.

Cox told attendees the move fits perfectly into the Facebook world, where real life fits with illusion naturally and experiences are there to share.

"What you're doing when you're using Facebook, you're just sending around little bits of experience. You're just sending a photo, you're sending a video, you're sending a piece of text, you're sending an idea, you're sending a thought," he said.

However, the apps aren't expected to hit the market any time soon. Cox said the company won't be unveiling anything mainstream until VR headsets become more prevalent: "We're a long way away from everyone having those headsets," he remarked.

Facebook bought virtual reality headset maker Oculus in March last year for $2bn (1.2bn). Although the first edition of Oculus Rift was designed for commercial applications rather than consumers, Facebook and Oculus have been working to develop a consumer-facing product called the Crescent Bay headset.

This will include integrated LEDs on the back to convert experiences into 360-degree worlds and feature integrated headphones for sound as well as vision experiences.

However, like the VR applications Facebook is developing, it'll be a while until we'll get access to the lightweight VR headset because back in November Oculus CEO, Brendan Iribe, said it wouldn't be ready for 'many months'.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.