The most trending word on the internet these days is ‘meta’ or ‘metaverse’. Recently Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook made a statement that he is altering the name of his company to Meta. So, what exactly is this, and how it is related to Facebook? The word ‘meta’ originated from a Greek word and it simply means beyond or after. So they merged the ‘meta’ and ‘universe’ and brought the word ‘metaverse’ – as Zuckerberg had spoken about transitioning Facebook from just a mere social media platform to a Metaverse company. Let us understand what is meta or metaverse by Facebook.
This new concept is not entirely foreign to social media users. An online world through which you can interact with others, communicate and collaborate virtually, without even needing to be in a similar place. It is like face-timing but instead of gawking at the screen, you would be seeing them in the same space. You can see your employees in your office, no not via video call grid but for real.
The tool of preference at the outset for the Metaverse, at least where Facebook is concerned, emerges to be the VR or virtual reality. And Facebook by now has its in-house creation – the Oculus VR headset once it obtained the business in the year 2014 for 2 billion USD. Facebook has commenced meeting software for corporations, named Horizon Workrooms, to utilize with the Oculus VR headset. So far the reviews have not been triumphant. The headset costs about USD 300 or over. So, the new experience is out of reach for many but those who can meet the expense of this headset would be able to connect with the virtual universe created by other companies.
With the launch of Facebook Horizon in 2019, Facebook created the VR world, which was an invitation to an immersive environment that users can enter with the help of the Oculus headset. By August, the feature rolled out Horizon Workrooms, another feature where the co-workers wearing the VR headsets can appear in the virtual room as a 3D cartoonish edition of themselves. But the view of Metaverse is going to be much more altered and evolved. Matthew Ball, venture capitalist wrote in a blog that Metaverse going to be a completely functioning economy where businesses and people can invest in products, sell, own and create. He also added that it is going to be an experience that spans both the physical and digital worlds and proposes exceptional interoperability of assets, contents, data, and other digital items.
Already, there are a few gaming tokens that can be transferred to money and something new has also emerged, NFTs which are non-fungible tokens that only exist digitally. In an interview, Zuckerberg said that it is not just virtual actuality and would be easily accessible through various devices like computers, gaming platforms, and mobile devices.
In a September blog by Nick Clegg, the company’s VP of worldwide dealings and Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook reality labs stated that Metaverse is not just a single product that can be built by one company. And, the blog also noted that it will not be ready overnight, it would at least take another 10-15 years before this process becomes real.
In another blog, a company that proposed to hire in Europe to run the Metaverse plans announced that the primary feature of Metaverse will be its interoperability, and no one company will be the owner or operator of Metaverse. There key feature of this process is its openness which means cooperation and collaboration among companies, creators, and developers. The process already facing questions about data privacy since they haven’t shared much information and the question is how it will be different qualitatively, for personal data that gets shared online. In another blog post of September, the company stated it is not about how much duration the users spend online it is about how meaningful is the time that they are spending.