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Facebook Displays Google Hardware

Did Facebook Buy Oculus To Counter Google Glass? 108

Posted by timothy
from the magic-8-ball-says-looks-likely dept.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In a statement soon after Facebook announced the acquisition of Oculus Rift, CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that the bulky Oculus headset had the potential to transform VR into the "most social platform ever." Whatever his reasons for shelling out $2 billion for the company, it's clear that Facebook is now a player in the augmented-reality space, which Google is also exploring in its own way. Yes, Google Glass serves a different function—overlaying maps and text over the wearer's view of the real world, rather than immersing people in a virtual environment—but the potential customer base for both devices is basically the same, and now Google has some real competition if it wants to transform Glass into some sort of gaming device. And despite some blowback from Markus Persson, it's likely that developers will continue to explore Oculus as a gaming platform, Facebook or no. Zuckerberg might be talking a good game about virtual realities far into the future (does he have to pay to promote his own posts on Facebook? Joke.), but this acquisition was likely a short-term play, as well."
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Did Facebook Buy Oculus To Counter Google Glass?

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  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:26PM (#46595259) Homepage Journal

    Virtual reality games and augmented reality tools, in spite of both using your eyes, are so far apart in functionality, that if this were the explanation, the shareholders would be justified in a lynching.

    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bobaferret (513897) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:35PM (#46595353)

      this. Augmented reality is about interacting with the real world. Virtual reality is about being cut off from it. The market segments are so different I can't believe this article even came into existence..... Oh wait, this is from news.dice.com..... It's that who owns slashdot.... ah! I believe I see what your trying to do there..

      • by paulpach (798828) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:06PM (#46595705)

        ...but the potential customer base for both devices is basically the same...

        Technically yes, both are for human beings that don't wear eye patches, which is basically the same customer base for eye drops.

        • by Aighearach (97333)

          I'd wager that humans with eye patches have an increased need for eye drops because they'll have more difficulty with a little dirt in their eye, or compensating for dry eyes by temporarily accepting lower resolution.

      • by gnupun (752725)

        this. Augmented reality is about interacting with the real world. Virtual reality is about being cut off from it.

        But virtual reality can be based on real data. Imagine you want to visualize certain aspects of the billions of petabytes of data that Facebook has mined from its users. What's better than a VR headset for such a purpose?

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "this. Augmented reality is about interacting with the real world. Virtual reality is about being cut off from it."

        Just add a camera to Occulus and you can walk through a New York without the rats, where crazy and homeless people are moving pieces of art, the subway cars always brand new and so on.

        Unfortunately without an Nosolus Rift, you'll still have the smell of pee.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        The error in the article is down to the writer of the article and their preferences in conjunction with seeing the world in 'their image'. They have failed to step back and see the world in the shape of the majority of people, they kind of people that make up the facebook user market. They use facebook to extend their social experience not cut themselves off from it. Quite simply virtual reality can suit introverts as it adds to their non-social experience, a minority but altered reality suits extroverts t

    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:40PM (#46595405) Journal

      It's more simple than that. Another case of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org] aka bad posts from a bad author who consistently posts complete fucking garbage.

      • It's more simple than that. Another case of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org] aka bad posts from a bad author who consistently posts complete fucking garbage.

        Brought to you by the same people responsible for the redressing of /. Also, complete fucking garbage.

    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bhcompy (1877290) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:42PM (#46595441)
      Meh. Look at Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and Surrogates, now mix Occulus Rift with Playstation Home and you have those worlds. Those realities aren't too far off. Google Glass allows you to walk bodily in the world, but VR allows you to become someone better than yourself, and, as the internet has shown, plenty of people hate themselves enough to pretend to be someone else when they can. The virtual main streets of Snow Crash may be the future, or the body doubles of Surrogates may be the future. Either way, those are competition to Google Glass, but it's a bit further sighted.
      • by JohnFen (1641097)

        Look at Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and Surrogates, now mix Occulus Rift with Playstation Home and you have those worlds. Those realities aren't too far off.

        Well, being as good as in those stories is a ways off, but I agree with the gist of your comment. However, I disagree that Oculus Rift itself will be part of the mix. That's a Facebook thing, now, so the most talented developers are far more likely to use a different platform that isn't tied to the like of Facebook.

        Or, so I hope. I really want such a thing to happen, but if I have to be a part of the Facebook ecosystem for it, then it's as good as nonexistent to me.

    • by paulpach (798828) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:00PM (#46595653)
      Next Nerval's Lobster article:

      Winzip vs Microsoft word vs C++, which one is right for you?

    • It's even dumber than that. Google Glass doesn't 'overlay' anything. It's a screen above your field of view.

      How do stories like this get approved?

      • AR!=HUD. But point taken.

      • It's even dumber than that. Google Glass doesn't 'overlay' anything. It's a screen above your field of view.

        How do stories like this get approved?

        All Dice crap is now slammed down our throats whether we vote for it or not. It bypasses the firehouse and pees directly on us.

  • real answer (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:27PM (#46595277)
    Everyone who uses Facebook seems to be in their own little self-centered world anyway. That's why they bought Oculus. It simply matches.
    • C'mon, don't be so cynical - think of the benefits! Now when your "friend" posts a pic of their tasty sandwich, you can almost imagine you're holding it yourself!

      I predict Facebook's next purchase will be buying the rights to John Water's Smell-O-Vision.

      • OMG and I can totally have it transform 2D pics into a 3D estimation and virtual beat the crap out of my frenemies. Yay!
    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      Now when your friends and family all tell you that you live in your own little world, they can really mean it!

      • Who needs real friends and family when you can have thousand of them on Facebook?. Oh, and now, with virtual reality! So you can now see your firends, half of which are advertisement pages, virtuuaaalllly...ooooooooh
    • Re:real answer (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geoskd (321194) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:56PM (#46596285)

      Everyone who uses Facebook seems to be in their own little self-centered world anyway. That's why they bought Oculus. It simply matches.

      No, Facebook bought Oculus because they are sitting on a pile of cash, and no good strategy for making profits. Facebook is not Google (which has a massive short term revenue stream), and it has no long term strategy for making social pay out the big bucks. Facebook also does not have the engineering talent to follow Googles "try everything" strategy, so Facebook is trying desperately to buy revenue diversity instead of creating it for themselves. Ultimately this is a loosing strategy, and a sign of weak / stupid management with very poor planning skills.

      Buying Whatsapp was a gamble on that companies ability to monetize an otherwise non-revenue generating user base. Oculus likewise has no proven user base. For an established company like Microsoft or Google, this kind of acquisition makes sense, since they can eat the loss if the investment goes sour (they usually do). Facebook cannot afford to have any of these mega deals go bad. They simply do not have the revenue stream and they can never again go IPO and raise another pile of cash. So instead of sitting on the cash, and waiting for a strong investment opportunity, they are squandering the money like kids in a store. It is hauntingly reminiscent of the dot-com boom, and likely will end the same way.

      • by rasmusbr (2186518)

        Facebook makes plenty of revenue from ads, just like Google. http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

        The digital economy has its own economies of scale, just like other industries. Whatsapp is also big enough to make money. Oculus? Dunno, maybe Zuckerberg is feeling nostalgic about the 90's VR hype.

        • by Zalbik (308903)

          Yes, but I think the GP's point was that FB doesn't make enough revenue to be buying multi-billion dollar speculative investments as rapidly as they are.

          It certainly appears as though FB is just casting about randomly, hoping to latch on to the "next big thing". Whatsapp was a particularly strange investment as their income entirely depends on the business model of telecom companies. The minute telecoms wise up and just package SMS in with data, Whatsapp's revenue stream dries up.

          It's as though Zuckerbe

        • by geoskd (321194)
          Facebook and Google are worlds apart. Googles Net earnings is greater than Facebooks gross revenue. Ditto, every other tech company that counts. Facebook has made a concerted effort to generate revenue any way they can, to the point of almost pissing off customers, and they still are almost an order of magnitude below any of the other big players (Google, MS, Apple). Worse still, the market is showing signs of a shift, and as Myspace can tell you, when your user base goes, they go quick.
      • At first your argument sounded persuasive and I might have wanted to subscribe to your newsletter, but now I can't. Looser.

    • Everyone who uses Facebook seems to be in their own little self-centered world anyway. That's why they bought Oculus. It simply matches.

      You got modded funny but I wonder how insightful that comment REALLY is.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unless Oculus VR have been developing a pair of glasses that no one has breathed a word about in several years... no. The idea that the Oculus Rift is portable is laughable (right now, it relies on an external head tracking camera).

  • by GodInHell (258915) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:31PM (#46595315) Homepage
    The use cases for google glass (overlaying information ontop of really - i.e. augmented reality) and Oculus Rift (a VR display that supplants and replaces your view with a different view - i.e. virtual reality) are entirely different. That would be like buying a car manufacturer to help catch up with SpaceX in building heavy launch vehicles - yeah, both are things you catch a ride in - but the technology that powers them doesn't cross pollinate.
  • No. Next question? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gelfling (6534) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:31PM (#46595317) Homepage Journal

    fb's user growth flattened out as fb less cool to its own target demographic. It's just randomly looking for the next cool thing it can use to be cool. And trust me, google glass is not cool. Google glass is something your douchebag fratboy older brother uses to be cool to HIS boss. It's this year's bluetooth earbud.

  • Next question-headline, please.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Except, they fucked up because Oculus is about immersion away from reality, and Glass is about augmented reality.

  • I really don't see how the Augmented Reality application and Virtual Reality gaming markets overlap, beyond the need for a head-mounted display. The Rift would have to have cameras to do AR and that would entirely warp its purpose.

    Though I'm certainly open to the idea of it as an add-on, since it looks like DevKit2 (Which I want one of so badly to experiment with drone telepresence and stuff) has USB accessory ports on it...I could see attaching something like a stereoscopic Kinect to the front. But I thi

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I really don't see how the Augmented Reality application and Virtual Reality gaming markets overlap, beyond the need for a head-mounted display. The Rift would have to have cameras to do AR and that would entirely warp its purpose.

      I have no idea how it would entirely warp its purpose.

      The only way in which this claim would make sense, though, is if they had a way to track your eyes and a way to overlay the 3d video over reality. And it has to not be so bulky as to be inconvenient. I think a lot of people would put up with looking like a complete tool (instead of just a weirdo, like with Glass) in order to use something like that.

      • What I meant is that if the focus of the Rift's development shifts, or it tries to encompass the capabilities needed for both... There's bound to be tradeoffs or compromises. And when that happens, usually everyone loses.

        Cameras (And it would have to be plural if it were to keep stereo vision) would add weight and bulk to the front, never good for an HMD. There's also price considerations...especially if they somehow come up with the perfect camera solution and create a product that's the best of both worl

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I'm still waiting for an eyetap. In such a system, the cameras are off to the side, and they also don't need a dedicated lens. It's aligned to your pupil width, so eye tracking is relatively easy.

    • I'm pretty sure the new rift comes with a camera and has a way of attaching it to the front. Obviously; I haven't gotten mine yet.

      • According to the information on the website, the camera pictured with 'DK2' is used to augment the head-tracking system.

        At any rate, being that it looks like a pretty standard little webcam thing, I can't imagine it would provide any suitably high quality video to the wearer, which would be a step backwards in AR, or at the very least, standing still. I mean, the point is to overlay the Augmented Reality over something near as good as you see without the device, or better, no? (Besides, one camera? No ster

  • When you don't know what to do, do something! :)
  • Did bigX buy littleY to ________________?
  • "Oculus headset had the potential to transform VR into the "most social platform ever."
    Actually, when I have it on, everyone else can fuck off. That's the point of virtual reality, lol.
  • I'm more interested in AR than VR. Oculus is VR, and Google Glass and CastAR which seems useful for daily life. Most of the VR I see are either modeling or video games. AR I can see additional information on my current work, personal assistant providing information in my daily life, assisting in my current job and providing additional information to any task I'm doing.

    Apps like Augment need to take off. I'd love an overlay when I look at a back of a switch or router that the ports light up with names. [youtube.com]

    • by BrookHarty (9119)

      I really wish you could edit posts. :(

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      When when you look at the back of a switch you're not authorized to maintain, it can instantly notify the sysadmin. I'm starting to like this!

  • Beautiful (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday March 27, 2014 @03:48PM (#46595511)

    One of those oh so rare moments in this community, which most days won't agree on anything, can all come together around a unifying understanding that the author is a complete idiot.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Regardless of what their goal might be, the actual result will be that they're going to kill the Oculus Rift.

  • Facebook is coming after your ass with fashionable headsets to make your nerdy looking glasses look even nerdier. What's more.. they're DEPLOYING BTRFS!!! Be afraid.

  • incoherent (Score:5, Informative)

    by samantha (68231) * on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:13PM (#46595791) Homepage

    Google glass and Oculus Rift are in completely different spaces. One is Augment Reality and the other is Virtual Reality. One is for overlaying outside reality and the other is for replacing at least visual outer reality with other content. One is for augmented interaction with in commonly perceived visual world the other for deep immersion in a virtual world/worldview.

    It is pretty sloppy thinking to consider them competitors.

  • by slapout (93640) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:16PM (#46595807)

    Mark Zuckerberg is setting around with his friends at a bar. Everyone's drinking.

    Bob: "How Mark, how much money is Facebook really worth?"

    Mark: "It's worth a lot."

    John: "I bet it's not. I bet you've blown through most of it."

    Mark: "No. We've got money in the bank"

    Bob: "Prove it."

    John: "Yeah. Prove it. Buy something really expensive"

    Bob: "Yeah. Buy something that costs a lot. We dare you."

    John: "Something that costs millions of dollars"

    Mark pulls out his phone and makes a call...

  • by janoc (699997) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:17PM (#46595835)

    This argument really goes like: "Oculus Rift is targeted at gamers, most gamers like bacon too, ergo Oculus Rift is competition for bacon."

    WTF, people ... Why the most clueless idiots have to be the ones getting published at Slashdot ...

    • by msobkow (48369)

      But what if the next generation of the Oculus Rift comes with a bacon scented "smell-o-vision" cartridge?

  • I'll say it one more time, and probably get modded as "-1 doesn't know when to stop" but the above comments support this:

    Augmented vs virtual reality are very different, yes, and FB should NOT compete with glass imo.

    Facebook would be best served in buying (or if they're actualyl smart are already considering buying) Valve. Shell out obscene amounts of money. Sign contracts. Whatever it takes. Fold the user base of PC Gaming As We Popularly Know it into the Oculus user base, let it organically grow into the

    • Sounds great, if it gets Half Life: Episode 3 released. :P

    • If Facebook bought Valve...No. No. No. The world as we know it will be over. Look what Microsoft did to Rare. If the Facebook Machine with all its drama comes to ever buy Steam, *shudder*, then I will reach out through this comment box, and slap the next person lauding the advances of "social media".
  • More facebook articles please. Maybe they'll buy the place from Dice.

  • Is Facebook integration. Could you imagine being on your Steambox, playing Modern Warfare 7 using the Oculus Rift and suddenly a message pops up "John has posted something : Having a Kebab for dinner, yum!", not only would it be distracting, it would be annoying, and I bet a Facebook account would be compulsory.
  • The bubble has burst, and "being acquired by Facebook" is no longer sexy. In fact after a long string of acquisitions this is the first one I recall having a public backlash. I figure it's all downhill (for them) from here.

    I'd still take the money, sure. But advertise on deez nuts. A billion a ball for your tattoo of choice.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      This kinda reminds me of what AOL became.

      Once you were bought and rolled into AOL, it basically meant the coolness had been sucked out. When AOL bought Netscape, we all knew it was over.

  • What happened to sharing an actual, physical space with someone and communicating without the use of third-party servers or, in fact, any kind of technology as the most social platform ever?

    Oh, Facebook... do fuck off now, there's a dear.

  • Google Glass seems to be countering Google Glass all by itself, why would anyone purchase an unrelated technology to counter something that has so far proven to be somewhere between hideously unpopular and the social equivalent of a wet fart. Dumb story even for slashdot.
  • Is who gets final say on the "business" and purchase decisions that Facebook makes?
    They seem so inept I feel I'm not privy to some future World view where they make sense, or it's just some 29 year old, shark eyed, douche bag giggling as he hits the buy key.

  • So lets say Facebook is the king of social media, but they are a one trick pony, they have their web site and little else. I guess they will buy their way into markets. Sound familiar? It is like he copied the Microsoft business plan, buy anything their competitors would be involved in.

    It did not work for Microsoft, and it is not going to work for Facebook.

  • I don't know. Glass used for AR games makes sense, specially if technology advances further. Occulus is VR, though...
    So in one hand you got AR which is overlaying "cyberspace" into reality, and then you got VR that tries to deliver that entire "cyberspace" without accounting for your location or environment, it provides its own and that's the point. One aims to augment reality (forgive the redundancy) and the other to create one of its own.
    I like both technologies, but they don't seem related at all, except

  • > it's likely that developers will continue to explore Oculus as a gaming platform, Facebook or no.

    I hate personal opinions without any basis of fact being presented passed off as statements of fact we should just accept because OP says so.

  • by Lisandro (799651)

    Facebook bought Occulus because it has more money than it knows what to do with these days.

  • by fran6gagne (1467469) on Friday March 28, 2014 @09:11AM (#46601631)
    The "most social platform ever" already exist. It is called real life.

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