Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is changing its name to Meta. "From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first," he said on Thursday.
"Facebook just doesn’t encompass everything that we do. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Quest, now Horizon, and more. (...) Our brand is so tightly linked around one product that it can’t possibly represent that we are seen as a metaverse company. (...) It is time for us to adopt a new company name to encompass everything that we do, to reflect what we are and what we hope to build. I’m proud to announce that starting today our company is now Meta,” Mark Zuckerberg said during Facebook’s annual Connect conference.
Zuckerberg said the new name reflected its focus on building the metaverse. The metaverse, a term first coined in a dystopian novel three decades ago and now attracting buzz in Silicon Valley, refers broadly to the idea of a shared virtual environment which can be accessed by people using different devices, Reuters explains.
“Our mission remains the same - it's still about bringing people together. Our apps and their brands aren't changing either. We're still the company that designs technology around people. But all of our products, including our apps, now share a new vision: to help bring the metaverse to life. And now we have a name that reflects the breadth of what we do. From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first,” he said, detailing that over time you won't need a Facebook account to use other company’s services.
The company unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday, replacing its thumbs-up "Like" logo with a blue infinity shape.
“I used to study Classics, and the word ‘meta’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘beyond’. For me, it symbolizes that there is always more to build, and there is always a next chapter to the story. Ours is a story that started in a dorm room and grew beyond anything we imagined; into a family of apps that people use to connect with one another, to find their voice, and to start businesses, communities, and movements that have changed the world,” he said.
The company’s corporate structure is not changing, however, how it reports on its financials will. Meta plans to report on two operating segments: Family of Apps and Reality Labs.
Zuckerberg spent almost an hour and a half presenting how businesses and users could benefit from the metaverse. He detailed that in the metaverse, “you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today.”
He also announced Horizon Home - a more social space for Oculus users who will be able to invite friends to hang out and play games in their home virtually. Eventually, they will be able to customize their home.
Name change was expected
A week ago, the Verge reported that Facebook was about to rebrand as it wants to be recognized as more than just a social media enterprise and would be just one of the brands under the parent company along with its other products, such as Oculus, metaverse, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
Facebook then said it doesn’t comment on rumours and speculations.
Recently, the company has been focusing on virtual reality. Last week, it announced plans to hire 10,000 employees in the European Union over the next five years to help build the so-called metaverse - a nascent online world where people exist and communicate in shared virtual spaces.
In September, Facebook contributed $50 million towards building the metaverse, where companies like Roblox Corp and "Fortnite" maker Epic Games have an early foothold.
The company earlier launched a test of a new virtual-reality remote work app where users of the company's Oculus Quest 2 headsets can hold meetings as avatar versions of themselves.
In September, Facebook introduced a new line of smart glasses called Ray-Ban Stories, which can take photos, shoot 30-second videos, and post them on the owner’s Facebook feed. Priced at $299 and powered by Facebook’s virtual assistant, the web-connected shades can also take phone calls and play music or podcasts.
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