Facebook just made it easy to wrap friends around your face

A "one-stop shop" for 360-degree photos and video.

Want to view immersive, 360-degree Facebook photos or videos in your Samsung Gear VR headset, like this White House tour? It hasn't been particularly easy -- you've had to browse the social network first on a 2D screen, then save a video or hunt for a button before popping it on your head.

That may change with the introduction of Facebook 360, though. It's Facebook's brand-new, purpose-built app for browsing 360-degree photos and video, and it's launching today on Samsung's Gear VR.

You'll have to imagine what it'd look like in VR.


While we haven't yet gotten to try it in our own headset quite yet, Facebook bills it as a "one-stop shop" for 360-degree content from all the usual suspects: friends, brands, pages you follow, and any content you save or upload yourself.

Facebook claims there are "more than 1 million 360 videos and more than 25 million 360 photos" available as of today, and that you'll be able to react to 360-degree content, and re-post them to Facebook, without taking the headset off.

Here are the "four feeds" that the app will include at launch, according to the company:

  • Explore: "Discover some of the most interesting and popular 360 content on Facebook from media companies, organizations, and individual creators.
  • Following: "Experience 360 content that your friends have posted on Facebook as well as 360 content from Pages and people you follow."
  • Saved: "Find all the 360 content you save from News Feed on mobile and desktop right in the app, ready for you to enjoy at a more convenient time."
  • Timeline: "Relive your memories in a new way through your own 360 photo and video uploads."

No word on a version for the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift headset or for other headsets, though the company says it hopes "to bring it to more platforms over time."

Samsung's Gear VR, which uses a Samsung Galaxy phone as its processor and display, has shipped 5 million units as of this year, which likely makes it the second most popular VR headset today. Earlier this month, Google VR boss Clay Bavor said his barebones Google Cardboard viewer had shipped 10 million units.

Google's newer headset, the Daydream View, comes with a comprehensive YouTube VR app and a personal photo viewer, but doesn't yet offer an easy way to browse user-generated 360-degree photos.

(Want to make your own 360-degree photos for Facebook? Here's how.)

Disclosure: Sean's wife works for Facebook as a business-to-business video project manager.