News, Technology, Virtual Reality

Facebook will soon let you Like and share 360-degree videos in the Gear VR

If you’ve got a Samsung Gear VR, you can soon connect your Facebook account to "Like" and share 360-degree videos from inside it. There are already Facebook 360-degree clips in the Gear VR’s video app, but next week, Oculus Video will start letting users sign into Facebook and get a personalized feed based on pages and people they follow. In the "coming weeks," they’ll also be able to add reactions to the videos or share them while inside VR.

Aside from adding 360-degree Facebook videos at all, this is the first big tie-in between Oculus’ Gear VR platform and the social network. Facebook bought Oculus in 2014, but it was slow about making its influence seen. Last month, though, it announced that a dedicated social VR team was figuring out how to use virtual reality to "connect and share." It also integrated new streaming technology to improve performance of 360-degree video.

Outside the Facebook integration, the Gear VR has some other new social components this week. As of tomorrow, users will be able to create profiles through Oculus’ Gear VR app, where they can find friends or leave app reviews. Users can create rooms to watch Twitch or Vimeo streams with friends, and there’s a group trivia app, along with a cooperative multiplayer version of the Gear VR’s third-person hack-n-slash game Herobound.

We’re still a long way from "Facebook in VR," but adding actual social features makes the Facebook 360-degree feed less like just another video channel. It’s plausible that Facebook is working on dedicated apps as well, for either the Gear VR or the high-end Oculus Rift that’s being shipped on March 28th. And Samsung, for its part, is pushing the Gear VR hard — the headset will ship free with all orders of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge until March 18th.

This post first appeared on The Verge.

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