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Facebook's plans to take over the world are taking two steps forward

Virtual reality is the major focus but it’s also looking at ways to help people deal with more data-intensive services like video.

Mark Zuckerberg walking through a hall of people wearing Samsung Gear VR in Barcelona last night.
Mark Zuckerberg walking through a hall of people wearing Samsung Gear VR in Barcelona last night.
Image: Facebook

HAVING WRAPPED UP social and messaging, Facebook plans to make its mark in two major areas, virtual reality (VR) and developing services needed to deal with rising data usage.

Its CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an appearance during Samsung’s press event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, as part of Samsung’s Gear VR product. The headset is another VR device that Oculus VR, the company Facebook bought back in 2014, helped develop.

Zuckerberg compared the rise of VR to its other messaging services like WhatsApp and Messenger and views it as another way of connecting people. The company announced the creation of a ‘social VR’ team which will look at the different ways people can use the technology for interaction both today and in the future.

Spain Wireless Show New Smartphones Attendees using the Gear VR at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event in Barcelona. Source: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

“We’ve already helped people connect in a wide variety of ways on mobile devices – ranging from Facebook and Instagram to Messenger and WhatsApp – and now we want to apply the same approach to the new medium of VR,” the company said in a blog post.

In the future, VR will enable even more type of connection – like the ability for friends who live in different parts of the world to spend time together and feel like they’re there with each other.

Samsung announced that it would include its VR headset, the Gear VR, with any pre-orders of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The device requires recent Samsung smartphones to operate and on its own, it costs $99. Zuckerberg also said that people have watched more than one million hours of 360 video in Gear VR.

Spain Wireless Show New Smartphones Mark Zuckerberg speaking at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event in Barcelona. Source: AP Photo/Manu Fernadez

It wasn’t the only thing that Facebook announced that would have implications for connectivity. The company announced a major project called the ‘Telecom Infra Project‘ (TIP), a plan to redesign telecom infrastructure so it can deal with increasing data usage around the world.

Since new data-intensive services like video are growing and others like VR are tipped to explode over time, TIP will look at ways to help speed up the development of telecom infrastructure so both users and providers will be able to adapt to this change.

The company is teaming up with the likes of Intel and Nokia to help develop the service. The project is part of Internet.org, its plans to deliver the internet to the developing world, and looks to reduce the cost of building mobile networks across the world.

Virtual Reality Vision Summit HTC Vive (pictured) is the main rival to Oculus Rift. Source: AP Photo/John Locher

As far as VR is concerned, the most recognisable headset out there is Oculus Rift but other companies announcing developments with their VR headsets included HTC, which announced the pricing for its own headset Vive.

Since it comes with two motion sensor controllers and a built-in camera (to help wearers navigate the room without bumping into objects), the headset will cost $799, making it more expensive than the Oculus Rift, and pre-orders will open on 29 February.

Read: Samsung’s latest smartphones bring back two features fans will love >

Read: You use them every day, but how much do you really know about search engines? >

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