Facebook launched a test of a new virtual-reality remote work app on Thursday. Users of the Oculus Quest 2 headsets can hold meetings as avatar versions of themselves.

The beta test of Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms app comes as many companies continue to work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down physical workspaces and as a new variant is sweeping across the globe.

For CEO Mark Zuckerberg the recent launch is an early step towards building the futuristic “metaverse.”

Coined in the 1992 dystopian novel “Snow Crash,” the term “metaverse,” is used to describe immersive, shared spaces accessed across different platforms where the physical and digital converge. Zuckerberg has described it as an “embodied internet.”

The world’s largest social network has invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality, developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets, working on AR glasses and wristband technologies and buying a bevy of VR gaming studios, including BigBox VR.

Facebook’s vice president of its Reality Labs group, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, said the new Workrooms app gives “a good sense” of how the company envisions elements of the metaverse.

“This is kind of one of those foundational steps in that direction,” Bosworth told reporters during a VR news conference.

In its first full VR news briefing, the company showed how users can design avatar versions of themselves to meet in virtual reality conference rooms and collaborate on shared whiteboards or documents.

The company said it would not use people’s work conversations and materials in Workrooms to target ads on Facebook. It also said users must follow its VR community standards and that rule-breaking behavior can be reported to Oculus.

From : pk.mashable.com

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