Meet Meta: A Social Technology Company
At Connect 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, famed Facebook founder, announced Meta, which is designed to bring together the company’s apps and technologies under a singular brand.
“Facebook was born in a specific time and place. A college campus. The web. It was what we could build at the time,” said Zuckerberg at the event. “Yet here we are in 2021 and our devices are still designed around apps, not people. The experiences we’re allowed to build and use are more tightly controlled than ever. And high taxes on creative new ideas are stifling. This is not the way that we are meant to use technology. The metaverse gives us an opportunity to change that if we build it well. But it’s going to take all of us—creators, developers, companies of all sizes. Together, we can finally put people at the center of our technology.”
The metaverse is designed to feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let users share immersive experiences with other people even when they can’t be together—and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. Meta says it’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for the company.
When asked about his vision for the metaverse, Zuckerberg said, “Avatars will be as common as profile pictures today, but instead of a static image, they’re going to be living 3D representations of you—your expressions, your gestures—that are going to make interactions much richer than anything that’s possible online today. Instead of typing or tapping, you’re going to be able to gesture with your hands, say a few words, or even just make things happen by thinking about them. Your devices won’t be the focal point of your attention. Instead of getting in the way, they’ll give you a sense of presence in the new experiences you’re having and the people who you’re with.”
“This isn’t about spending more time on screens,” he added. “It’s about making the time that we already spend better.”
Watch the video below to learn more about the Metaverse from Mark Zuckerberg himself.
At the annual Connect conference, which was held virtually, attendees explored what experiences in the metaverse could feel like over the next decade—from social connection, to entertainment, gaming, fitness, work, education, and commerce.
During the conference, the company also announced new tools to help people build for the metaverse, including Presence Platform, which will enable new mixed reality experiences on Quest 2, and a $150-million investment in immersive learning to train the next generation of creators.
“We’ve been working on Facebook Reality Labs for a long time, but we always kept the same vision, which is that we want to build tools that help people feel connected anytime, anywhere,” said Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, VP of Facebook Reality Labs. “Realistic presence is the key to feeling connected in the metaverse, and the Presence Platform’s capabilities are what’s going to deliver on that promise—things like environmental understanding, content placement, and persistence, voice interaction, and standardized hand interactions.”
The corporate structure for the company is not changing, but how it reports on its financials will. Starting with the results for the fourth quarter of 2021, Meta plans to report on two operating segments: Family of Apps and Reality Labs. It also intends to start trading under the new stock ticker it has reserved, MVRS, on December 1; the announcement does not affect how it uses or shares data.
“The last few years have been humbling for me and our company in a lot of ways. One of the main lessons that I’ve learned is that building products isn’t enough. We also need to help build ecosystems so that millions of people can have a stake in the future, can be rewarded for their work, and benefit as the tide rises, not just as consumers but as creators and developers,” concluded Zuckerberg. “But this period has also been humbling because as big of a company as we are, we’ve also learned what it’s like to build for other platforms. And living under their rules has profoundly shaped my views on the tech industry. Most of all, I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice and high fees are stifling innovation, stopping people from building new things, and holding back the entire internet economy.”
Click here to read Zuckerberg’s vision for Meta in his founder’s letter.