The company formerly known as Facebook has a new name Meta.
There will still be a Facebook, an Instagram and all the familiar platforms, as this is simply a renaming of the parent company alone.
The new name also invites people to join its “next chapter” – a 3D journey into the metaverse, which it sees as the future of the Internet.
But some analysts are wondering if the public will trust the company enough to partake in Mark Zuckerberg’s new vision.
Is meta important?
The new name has produced millions of online searches for the Meta-specific query in the UK and the US combined, analysts say.
Frequently asked questions included:
- What is Meta?
- What does Meta mean?
- What does Meta mean?
Dive into the Oxford English Dictionary and there are various meta definitions available – prefixed with “denoting change, transformation, permutation or substitution” or “beyond, above, to a higher level”.
The company claims to favor “the beyond”, but it is also looking for a kind of metamorphosis.
Perhaps even an opportunity to welcome a new brand not tainted by leaks and negative press, although a Forrester analyst noted that “a name change does not suddenly erase the systemic problems plaguing the company.”
Officially, however, it is about the future.
“Our new corporate branding captures where our company is going and the future we want to help build,” said Meta.
That destination is the metaverse.
What the hell is the metaverse?
The company believes the metaverse will be the next evolution in how we use the Internet.
“In this future, you will be able to instantly teleport like a hologram to be in the office without commuting, to a concert with friends or to your parents’ living room to catch up.” wrote CEO Zuckerberg.
Some of these may seem familiar to those who have spent the pandemic in video conferencing, but the metaverse view will remind other virtual worlds of earlier times, such as Second Life.
However, Meta points out that this is not a virtual world, but a new three-dimensional space to be used and accessed in various ways, saying: “Augmented reality glasses to stay present in the physical world, virtual reality to be fully immersed and phones and computers to jump from existing platforms. “
The company claims it is: “A 3D social virtual space where you can share immersive experiences with other people, even when you can’t get together in person and do things together that you couldn’t do in the physical world.”
Azeem Azhar, author of Exponential, says: “It will not be something that will be contained in a VR headset that is in the corner of the living room. It will be a collection of things that will appear across our different applications and on all of our devices, as we go. that these devices are getting better and better. “
Will it work?
Writing in the Times, tech analyst Benedict Evans characterized Facebook’s motivation this way: “If there’s anything after smartphones, Facebook wants to be the owner, not a tenant.”
But is the metaverse the right real estate?
Mr. Azhar states that the “tipping point” is answering the question for the general consumer: “What is the thing we are actually going to have to do with this?”
He says at the moment: “We are still looking for that absolute killer application of these virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.”
And if it succeeds, instead of replacing existing technology, the metaverse will sit by its side. “It may be 20 years since text messaging has become popular and people continue to text, even though there are so many other richer ways we can communicate with each other.”
Great, when will this happen?
Meta already owns virtual reality headset maker Oculus.
And the company launched experimental versions of two metaverse projects last year: Horizon World, which allows friends to meet virtually, and Horizon Workrooms, which allows virtual business meetings.
At the Facebook Connect event where Mr. Zuckerberg talked about the metaverse he also teased a new high-end headset nicknamed Project Cambria.
But the metaverse is a work in progress, and the company says that the full realization of the idea will take another 10-15 years.
Meta will spend billions of dollars to bring it to life. The company recently announced that it is hiring 10,000 people in the European Union to work on the project.
Zuckerberg also said that the metaverse will be the work of more than one company and that “open standards and interoperability” will have to be part of it.
How secure and private is the metaverse?
After all the leaks and allegations recently leveled at Facebook, will people trust the world Mr. Zuckerberg built to keep them safe and their private data?
The Guardian suggested that advertisers could target ads based on “your body language, your physiological responses, knowing who you’re interacting with and how.”
Mike Proulx, director of research at research firm Forrester, said: “Without trust, Meta’s metaverse plans are already at risk.”
Zuckerberg and Meta’s colleague Nick Clegg, a former British Deputy Prime Minister, sought to address concerns.
Clegg noted that it took years to get the regulation and technology right, while Zuckerberg said, “Privacy and security must be built into the metaverse from day one.”
Whistleblower Frances Haugen told the BBC that “again and again, we see Facebook prioritizing expansion and growth.” He believed the assets could be better used to improve Facebook’s security.
Facebook responded that it has no commercial or moral incentive to do anything other than give the maximum number of people the most positive experience possible.
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