Social media giant Facebook is changing its name to Meta, a reference to the digital world metaverse using augmented reality tools.
Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg: "I used to study classics, and the word 'meta' comes from the Greek word meaning 'beyond'.
"For me, it symbolises that there is always more to build, and there is always a next chapter to the story.
"Ours is a story that started in a dorm room and grew beyond anything we imagined; into a family of apps that people use to connect with one another, to find their voice, and to start businesses, communities, and movements that have changed the world."
Zuckerberg sees the metverse as a big commercial oppportunity, a new world to sell things to virtual people in a virtual world.
And it's a big play. in In 2021, he expects investments in Facebook Reality Labs to reduce overall operating profit by about $US10 billion,
He told analysts earlier this week, when releasing third quarter results: "This is a major area of investment for us and an important part of our strategy going forward.
"I view this work as critical to our mission because delivering a sense of presence -- like you're right there with another person -- that’s the holy grail of online social experiences.
"Over the next decade, these new platforms are going to start to unlock the kinds of experiences that I've wanted to build since even before I started Facebook.
"Along with those social experiences I expect a massive increase in the creator economy and amount of digital goods and commerce.
"If you're in the metaverse every day, then you'll need digital clothes, digital tools, and different experiences. Our goal is to help the metaverse reach a billion people and hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce this decade. Strategically, helping to shape the next platform should also reduce our dependence on delivering our services through competitors."
Meta will include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Will Easton, managing director, Australia and New Zealand, Meta: “The metaverse is the next evolution in online social technology and will help us connect in ways not yet possible today. While nothing beats being together in person, recent months have highlighted how, when that’s not possible or practical, the digital world can still help us feel connected. The metaverse will help us get closer to feeling that in-person presence through sharing a space rather than a screen.
"Facebook isn’t going to build, own or run the metaverse on its own, we will be collaborating at every stage with policymakers, experts and industry partners.
"There are already a wealth of Australian companies and creators working in this space, including fashion designers, gaming and VR experience creators, academics and marketers experimenting with new immersive formats. Australia has an opportunity to be on the forefront of this technology even at this early stage of its development.”
Zuckerberg speaking from his home:
In recent decades, technology has given people the power to connect and express ourselves more naturally. When I started Facebook, we mostly typed text on websites. When we got phones with cameras, the internet became more visual and mobile. As connections got faster, video became a richer way to share experiences. We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But this isn’t the end of the line.
The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.
The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.
In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today. We made a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day.
In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You’ll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint.
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