Facebook launches "Horizon Workrooms" for virtual offices - here's how it works
CBS News You're working from home. Your colleagues are too. Facebook wants to bring you together - sort of - with virtual reality. The company is launching "Horizon Workrooms," a VR app aimed at reinventing virtual office spaces. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated the product Thursday in an exclusive interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King.
Inside Facebook's metaverse for work
It wasn't long into a recent press briefing I attended in virtual reality when Mark Zuckerberg showed up to talk about the metaverse. I was sitting at a long, U-shaped conference table with a handful of other reporters, our floating torsos bobbing over our chairs, as the Facebook CEO beamed in.
There's a video of "Horizon Workrooms" that's going around Twitter. It came from Boz, the VP of Facebook Reality Labs. Snowden sniped it, and it to be fair, it's a pretty poorly done video. As expected, there's a lot of hate towards Facebook on the release of this: "They managed to figure out something worse than sitting around on Zoom calls all day."
It's unfortunately really difficult to translate the phenomenon of social VR to someone who wasn't there. The app may actually be decent, but the all it takes is a single impression like this for many to write off Facebook's Metaverse as a prison.
There's much to say on Facebook and their quest for the Metaverse, but for today, all I want to cover is why the video Boz posted really under-represents the potential of what they built.
- It's a fixed camera angle.
- It's a monologue!
- Everyone is stationary.
Spatial audio might be the biggest reason why its worth meeting in VR over Zoom (not the avatars or keyboards). This video gives no sense of it. The monologue in this Twitter video could easily be on clubhouse and it would make no difference. In VR, you can look to your left, say something to your co-worker in a half-whisper, and no one else would hear it. You could even move to a corner of the room for an organic breakout conversation.
I could see Workrooms being effective for a kind of 2-hour meeting, where there is a blend between private work (utilizing the keyboard and browser), spontaneous break-outs (in different parts of the room), and then congregations (everyone attentive). Will have to give it a try and see what it's like.