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Facebook to launch 360-degree live videos

The social network's future hinges on both live video and virtual reality. Now those efforts are slowly coming together.

Facebook is introducing live 360-degree videos.

Facebook wants you to step inside live videos.

The social network on Monday announced plans to release a 360-degree live video feature. That means viewers will be able to look up, down and around in videos that are being streamed live on Facebook.

Live video has been crucial for Facebook as the social network tries to get people to spend more time on its site. CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees the format as the future of his company and has said we're entering a "golden age for live video."

The effort also dovetails with Facebook's broader effort in virtual reality. Earlier this year, the company released its high-end virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift, and demoed ways people could use VR together on the social network.

Facebook isn't the only Silicon Valley company to bet big on VR. Google just released its Daydream View headset, while Samsung has its Gear VR headset, made in partnership with Oculus. When Facebook bought Oculus two years ago, Zuckerberg said he thought VR would be the next wave of computing.

For now, live 360-degree videos can only be streamed by publishers and is not open to all of Facebook's 1.8 billion users. The social network will officially launch live 360 videos on Tuesday with a video from the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah, in partnership with National Geographic.