On October 28th 2021, The Facebook Company, led by CEO Mark Zuckaberg, announced it had changed its name to Meta – with the aim to bring together all its apps and technologies under one brand. In reality, this means that while the Facebook app will still be called Facebook, when you open apps like WhatsApp and Instagram, which have been owned by The Facebook Company since 2019, you will no longer be greeted with the message “WhatsApp, from Facebook” but instead see a new tagline, “WhatsApp, from Meta”. The apps must have the latest update in order to see this change. So why the sudden need to rebrand to Meta? Read on to find out.
From Meta to the metaverse
The primary reason for the rebrand is to align with Meta’s desire to build an immersive experience called the ‘metaverse’. According to the company’s website, “the metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world.” In reality, this will take the form of allowing users to share immersive experiences together even when they are not in close proximity to one another via augmented and virtual reality. This will eliminate the need for you to use your computer or phone as your primary way to communicate.
Nonetheless, the change from The Facebook Company to Meta also follows a series of negative news headlines regarding the enterprise. This has led some to believe the rebrand is intended purely cosmetic – designed to steer attention away from the bad press it has received over the past few years, rather than build the future of the internet.
What could you do in the metaverse?
Using this technology, the company hopes that everything from entertainment, gaming, fitness, work, concerts, movies, education, and commerce will be transformed. With parties wearing virtual reality headsets, they can meet in the ‘metaverse’ and conduct activities just as they would if they were meeting face-to-face. For instance, you may also be able to test drive a car in the metaverse before you buy it or try on clothes before you order them.
Most people envision that users of the metaverse would have some kind of digital avatar of themselves that would represent them in this new reality but because the metaverse is still just a concept, this may turn out not to be the case. However, if the metaverse does become popular, it could be the future of the internet in 10 to 15 years time.
It is also worth noting that Meta would not be the owner of the metaverse, just as Google isn’t the owner of the internet. Other companies such as Fortnite, for example, have also expressed interest in collaborating in order to create this new interactive, digital world.
How realistic is the project?
While there has been a huge amount of hype around the use of augmented and virtual reality in the past, this has amounted to very little so far. However, for the first time there is the feeling that the technology is close to being ready to fulfil its potential, with huge advancements in the headsets needed and 5G connectivity allowing for a seamless user experience.
For now though everything is still in the very early stages. Virtual and augmented reality headsets, for example, are still relatively expensive and out of most would-be-customers’ price range as of 2021. What’s more, many headsets have, up until now, largely focused on application in gaming. Meta hopes to change this by launching its own retail stores to physically show its potential customers how the virtual and augmented reality technology works and how it could benefit them. Overall, it’s clear that this is a long term project though the drive to make it a reality is greater than ever.
What do you think of the Metaverse concept? The future of the internet or dystopian? Let us know in the comments section. And, if you have any questions or other technology queries, please tweet us at @techtroublesho1.
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