Sign up for metaverse: The virtual world Facebook's Zuckerberg is building

Into the metaverse: A file photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook plans to rebrand itself as a company focused name on building the metaverse, according to The Verge website.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is expected to announce the name at the company’s Connect conference on October 28. What is 'metaverse' though?

 
The term was coined by sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson in 1992 to describe a future dystopian world of virtual reality, the internet, social media and other technologies. With Facebook focusing on virtual reality and bringing its properties like Instagram and WhatsApp under one umbrella, one may take the cue that the tech giant is aiming to be more than just a social media company.

Facebook committed in September $50 million towards building a metaverse where people can meet and share space. It has announced plans to create 10,000 new high-skilled positions in the European Union over the next five years to build the metaverse.

Facebook is not the first tech giant to overhaul its identity. Google, in 2015, did an overhaul to become a conglomerate under a parent company which it called Alphabet.

Facebook is under fire from regulators, lawmakers and activists in the US. Whistle-blower Frances Haugen has shared thousands of company documents with regulators and the Wall Street Journal. The documents detailed Facebook’s struggle with moderating its content and alleged deleterious mental-health effects of its photo-sharing app Instagram, Bloomberg reported. A rebranding exercise is just what Facebook needs.

A metaverse could change how we see technology. It is likely to be a virtual world connecting work, play, meetings, and more. After Oculus virtual reality (VR) headsets, Facebook is also building VR apps for social hangouts and for the workplace, including ones that interact with the real world.

We may have seen tiny bits of how the Metaverse experience would be, considering multiplayer games such as Fortnite and Pokemon Go have given us a sneak peek into the virtual world.

Facebook has been experimenting with a VR meetings app called Workplace, and a social space called Horizons, both of which use their virtual avatar systems.

This means that we may have our virtual avatars joining office meetings, meeting people online, and even shopping online but in a new manner. It’s not clear how long it all will take but it looks like Facebook wants to hush up the process.

Besides, it’s not long that other tech giants jump the bandwagon, Google and Amazon are already investing in innovations that could prove crucial to the development of the metaverse.

Fortnite maker Epic Games recently completed a $1-billion round of funding, including an additional $200 million in strategic investment from Sony Group Corporation, to build its metaverse.



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