Facebook Becomes Meta: What Is The Metaverse?

If you’ve been keeping up to date with the tech news, you might be aware that a certain social media giant is changing its name… For the first time since its creation, Facebook is ditching its birth name and becoming ‘Meta’. Don’t worry, this won’t mess about with the social media website and app that we know and love, they’re still called Facebook. In fact, you probably won’t even notice the name change!

What’s officially changed is the name of the parent company that provides us with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, but none of these services are going to look any different than they used to. So, why Meta? What does it mean? These two questions are on everybody’s lips right now, and while the answer can be a little mind boggling at first – it’s super interesting.

What is the metaverse?

The name ‘Meta’ relates to the company’s plan to develop what’s known as the ‘metaverse’.

It may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, which is probably because it is. Coined in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash, the term ‘metaverse’ has been bobbing around in the world of gaming and future tech for a while. But what is it, exactly?

Essentially, the metaverse is a blended reality where the physical world and technology are integrated with each other. You’ll most likely view the metaverse through a headset or special pair of glasses, and it will work by showing you images and videos that will appear to exist within the real world. These could be anything from phone notifications to moving avatars of your friends and family! There will also be elements of the metaverse that will be fully in virtual reality (VR), meaning you won’t be able to see the physical world but will instead see an entirely digital environment.

What can I do in the metaverse?

It’s difficult to know the true extent of what the metaverse will offer as it’s not yet developed – but Meta has announced some services it thinks the metaverse will provide and enhance. Here’s a few:

  • Socialisation– you’ll be able to interact with others as if they are in person with 3D avatars, catching up with 3D versions of friends and family.
  • Hybrid working – the metaverse will bring together those working from home and those working from the office in a virtual meeting room.
  • Education – classes will be able to be conducted within the environment they are being taught about. Anyone fancy a trip to Ancient Rome?
  • Training – surgeons in training can perform practice surgeries without needing a human participant.
  • Immersive gaming experiences– the metaverse will allow gamers to play as if they are right in the middle of the action.

When will the metaverse exist?

We don’t know exactly when the metaverse will be ‘ready’ as it’s such a large project – but we do know that it’s in the works. Meta’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, doesn’t see metaverse infrastructure being ready for 10-15 years as there’s a ton of work that needs to be put in, including discussions on regulations and privacy. Even still, with the rate at which technology is developing, we might be seeing the metaverse a lot sooner than expected…

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