People have talked about Facebook rebranding itself for weeks if not months. However, no one took it seriously - until it happened.
Earlier this week, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had renamed itself to Meta. What does this mean, you ask? A lot of things, for starters. Don't worry, we understand that the move involves a lot of technical jargon that the average consumer won't understand. This is exactly what we're here to help with.
Does this mean that Facebook is gone?
Facebook is still, well, Facebook. The social media platform continues to operate as is despite the announcement. If that's the case, you might wonder, why did the headlines say that Facebook had already rebranded itself?
Going forward, Facebook will operate under the Meta corporate umbrella. This will encompass other Meta-owned properties (formerly Facebook) such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook the social media network. Meta is also doing away with the Oculus brand as it will start incorporating Oculus, including the Quest 2 VR headset, into its various properties.
What is this “metaverse” that Zuckerberg was talking about?
Meta isn't the first company to talk about the word "metaverse". Epic had talked about this in the past. Not to mention, the word has floated around in several media for years. For the most part, we can trace its origins from Snow Crash, a 90s sci-fi novel set in a world where people had begun escaping to a virtual world. According to Zuckerberg, this is the future of the internet. Zuckerberg believes that it's only a matter of time before people start interacting with 3D avatars of themselves.
If this all sounds familiar, it's the premise of the popular 2018 sci-fi movie, Ready Player One, which was also based on the novel of the same name.
It appears that Zuckerberg's endgame is to let users create fully-realized digital versions of themselves in a virtual world, which isn't unlike what Epic is doing with Fortnite. The term "metaverse" isn't all digital or virtual either. Certain aspects of it will involve an interaction between the digital and the physical.
How does Meta plan on creating a Metaverse?
To accomplish its goals, Meta is building a software platform, Horizon, that's similar to Minecraft and Roblox, and lets users build whatever they want. On the hardware side, Meta will use a mix of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality devices, the first of which Zuckerberg referred to as Project Cambria. The high-end, mixed-reality headset will feature full face and eye-tracking technology for better expressions on your avatar.
In addition to Project Cambria, Meta is also cooking up Nazaré, which is a pair of AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will become just as popular as smartphones in the future. Nazaré looks no different from regular glasses but will have several added functionality like displaying digital overlays. Zuckerberg also clarified Meta will introduce a single, unifying account going forward, as well as separate individual accounts.
TLDR; if you don't want to use Facebook to log onto the metaverse, you don't have to.
Why Facebook’s rebrand is important for the company’s future
It's unusual to hear a company like Facebook, that's known worldwide, to rebrand itself, but it's also pivotal to the company's plans right now and in the future. By rebranding itself, Meta can focus more on pursuing AR and VR technology. Not to mention, it might help change the negative public perception of the company as well.
Having said that, this doesn't necessarily mean that Meta is going to give up Facebook nor Instagram just like that. Going forward, we can expect Meta's legacy platforms to remain the same.