Facebook Spaces, the company’s experiment into social VR, launched to much fanfare back in April. Following a string of updates, the app now supports PC desktop sharing, allowing friends to stream any content from their computer, opening up a world of new possibilities within the app.
Facebook Spaces did a lot right at its initial launch, but after playing with the volumetric markers, exploring some Facebook-hosted 360 photos and videos, and maybe calling a few friends via Messenger video chat, you may have run out of things to do.
A slow but steady set of updates to the app has added a keyboard to make it easier to search for 360 media, the ability to respond to Messenger messages, and live streaming functionality. And now users can share their PC desktop screens, which opens up a major new channel for content sharing, like the ability to share local or web videos, play PC games next to one another, collaborate on content creation, and much more—pretty much anything you can do on your PC can now be shared with your friends in VR.
Mike Booth, Facebook’s Social VR Product Manager, talked about the new PC desktop sharing functionality in Facebook Spaces during a session at VRDC Fall 2017 today. He confirmed that the feature was experimental for a time but is now rolling out widely to users.
The feature is found in the app on the ‘tool shelf’, and looks like a computer monitor. Users can drag their screen to the center of the table to enlarge it for the whole room to see easily, similar to sharing flat video and photo content in the app.
An interesting new tool builds upon the PC desktop sharing: a new cutout pen, which allows users to trace anything on the screen and cut that thing out as a texture to be manipulated in the virtual space, offering interesting possibilities, like cutting out pictures of people, pets, and objects to create collages, game pieces, and more.
PC desktop sharing surely opens up lots of new functionality in the app, though similar functionality has been available to VR users for some time now through apps like Bigscreen, which is built entirely around the concept of PC desktop sharing between users.