Watch: Facebook’s first batch of 360° videos are really impressive

24 Sep 2015

Facebook has released a few 360° videos showing off Star Wars, Saturday Night Live and GoPro and, on first viewing, they are very cool.

Releasing three videos, Facebook is pressing ahead with its plans to dominate the video streaming market.

Considering a big, fat YouTube sits in its way, you may think that’s implausible, but so far Facebook has impressed.

At the halfway point of the year, Facebook was well on track to deliver two-thirds as many video views in 2015 as YouTube, bringing in potentially 2trn views compared with 3trn for YouTube.

Facebook on the up

The social media giant has seen its daily views skyrocket in the last year, growing to a reported 4bn a day in some cases, with continual tweaking of its newsfeed clearly keeping its users happy.

According to research by Ampere Analysis, Facebook already has more monthly active users across the board, with 1.4bn users in 2014, compared with 1.3bn for YouTube.

It has also quickly become evident that Facebook is making up to two-and-a-half times as much money per video view as its rival.

It then dipped its toe into the Periscope live-streaming market, allowing celebrities to take part since August.

360 Video a fine addition

But these new videos might take it to a whole new level. The first video is a pretty cool Star Wars video, letting you cruise through a fairly desolate, sparse land.

It’s got just the right amount of ‘oh, that’s interesting’ to keep you involved, and it reminds me of playing Wipeout back in the day.

The second video takes it up a notch, sitting you in the audience of Saturday Night Live for a performance from Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

However the third video, a GoPro production, is breathtaking. Although most GoPro videos (the official ones, anyway) are hugely impressive.

It’s only just been released so not every platform can support it. For example, you can’t view them on smartphones just yet. My Android device simply told me ‘360 Video is not yet available for this device’.

I can’t imagine smartphones are the ideal platform anyway, though, as the scanning around with a mouse, on a desktop computer, seems ideal.

Then again they wouldn’t work on Safari this morning, but they were fine on Chrome.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic