Facebook Adds 360-Degree Photo Feature

As part of a broader shift toward augmented reality, Facebook is now inviting its nearly 2 billion users to capture 360-degree photos right from its flagship app.

To date, this feat could be achieved using a number of third-party photo apps. By offering the feature in-house, Facebook is likely encouraging the production of more 360-degree photography, setting the stage for additional augmented-reality offerings.

While the new feature is aimed at Facebook's larger user base, similar efforts have sought to stir the creative juices of professional content creators.

Along with National Geographic and other publishers, Facebook added support for 360-degree live streams late last year.

Thanks largely to big investments by Facebook and Snap, the mobile augmented reality (AR) marketplace could balloon to more than 1 billion users -- and $60 billion in revenue -- by 2021, Digi-Capital suggested in a recent report.

Facebook unveiled its AR app marketplace in April. Unlike Snap, Facebook’s marketplace serves as an open platform for AR apps and tools.

“Instead of having maybe 10 or 20 options to choose from [with Snapchat], you’re going to have thousands of options from creators all over the world from all different types of cultures and backgrounds and styles,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in April.

Looking into the future, Zuckerberg said he envisioned the AR revolution making many physical tools -- from TVs to photographs to clocks -- obsolete.   

“We can put a digital TV [on the wall], and instead of it being a piece of hardware, it's a $1 app instead of being a $500 piece of equipment,” Zuckerberg said.

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