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Facebook: Standalone AR glasses are five to ten years away
by Paul Hill
Earlier this week, alongside its Oculus Quest 2 announcement, Facebook revealed Project Aria a research project investigating wearable augmented reality (AR) glasses.
On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the first pair of Aria glasses would be launching 2021, however, these will still be dependent on a smartphone. According to the head of Facebook Reality Labs Research Michael Abrash, the dependency on a smartphone could be removed within the next five to ten years and the technology could even supplant smartphones for some people.
In the next couple of years, smart glasses will be dependent on smartphones due to battery life and processing constraints but as technology shrinks, cramming components into glasses could become feasible. Abrash reiterated that these glasses “are still years off. That’s not a 2021 thing. I’m talking about the future.”
While glasses may be able to be used alone in the next decade, it’s unlikely that smartphones will disappear entirely. While glasses will no doubt be capable of performing many of the tasks we need them to do and more, there will be other tasks that are more convenient to complete on a phone screen.
By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook is clamping down on groups tied to violence and health misinformation
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook announced today that it is taking additional steps to limit the spread of harmful content and misinformation in Groups. The social networking giant is honing in on Groups that contain health-related posts and those that are tied to violence.
Tom Alison, Facebook's Vice President of Engineering, said the company has begun removing health groups from recommendations in order to give priority to authoritative sources of health information. That said, users can still invite others to health groups they belong to or search for this type of groups. The latest step comes after Facebook drew flak earlier this year for allowing people to share false information surrounding COVID-19, including conspiracy theories and fake remedies.
In addition, the company is taking more stringent steps to limit the scope of groups linked to violence by removing them from recommendations, reducing their presence in search, and limiting their content in News Feed. This builds on Facebook's ongoing efforts to crack down on groups that pose risks to public safety such as U.S.-based militia organizations and QAnon.
Facebook noted that it took down more than 1 million groups over the last year for violating its policies. It is now preventing repeat offenders from creating new groups for a period of time, though it's not clear how long that window lasts. For groups with no admin for some time, the company plans to archive them in the next few weeks. Admins who are about to step down can also invite members to become admins, and if nobody accepts the invitation, Facebook will suggest admin roles to members.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Facebook's latest app combines Messenger and Instagram chats for small businesses
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Facebook is introducing a unified app that lets small business owners manage their pages and profiles across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, announced in a blog post. She stressed how integral Facebook's tools and services are for small businesses:
The app, named Facebook Business Suite, would unify the backend infrastructure for the three Facebook-owned apps, so business owners are able to receive messages from customers, updates, and alerts in a single inbox. The Menlo Park firm also plans to add WhatsApp integration in the future, it confirmed to The Verge. The social media giant also plans to expand the app to larger businesses next year.
The app lets users post to Facebook and Instagram simultaneously, in addition to viewing insight into the performance of ad campaigns on the platforms. Doing so lets owners "easily see what's working and learn what's resonating with customers with Facebook and Instagram insights."
Additionally, to help small businesses better analyze impacts of COVID-19, Facebook released two new surveys: its latest Global State of Small Business Report and a study on the pandemic's impact on consumers' purchasing patterns.
Libra Association picks former HSBC head as Managing Director
by Paul Hill
The Libra Association has announced that James Emmett has been appointed as the Managing Director of Libra Networks LLC, the operating company subsidiary of the Libra Association. He will fill the role from October 1 and oversee the development and operation of Libra’s cryptocurrency payment system.
Commenting on the news, Emmett said:
Emmett was picked for the job due to his experience as a financial services leader. According to the Libra Association, Emmett has “a wealth of global experience in business, strategy, technology, and operations” thanks to the work he has done at HSBC over 25 years. At HSBC, he was responsible for the bank’s UK Wholesale Bank and operation in Continental Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Bermuda. He was also the Chief Operating Officer of HSBC Bank plc.
So far, Facebook has run into a lot of issues around regulation with its cryptocurrency ambitions and has had to scale back its plans. Hopefully, with people like Emmett, Facebook will be able to more successfully navigate further hurdles.
By Jefferson Mangubat
Facebook announces a virtual office experience called Infinite Office
by Jefferson Mangubat
Facebook is letting people working from home experience a virtual office setup. At Facebook Connect, the company introduced Infinite Office, a set of new capabilities designed to provide a more immersive virtual office space through the Oculus Quest.
The new features allow users to adjust the size of the virtual office and work across multiple screens that they can customize. As part of its early experiments, Facebook has combined Infinite Office with Spatial, an augmented reality platform that lets users collaborate with colleagues in a virtual environment. Users have the option to switch between real-world and virtual experiences through the Passthrough mode.
In addition, Facebook tapped Logitech to build a physical keyboard designed to address the challenges associated with text input in virtual reality. The keyboard features a built-in trackpad that can be used in a VR setting.
The Infinite Office capabilities will be rolled out in the winter on the Oculus Quest 2, unveiled earlier today, as part of an experimental release. Facebook also plans to release Passthrough and other technologies to developers in the future.
Source: Oculus (YouTube) via Engadget