Facebook is now Meta. “Metaverse first, not Facebook first”. As rumored, Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed the name change of the company he leads to represent the beginning of a new stage focused on the ‘metaverse’. Meta will be the parent company that encompasses what are now Facebook’s social network, WhatsApp, and Instagram, as well as other projects such as Quest, Messenger, or Horizon.
As Google already did with Alphabet in 2015, Facebook Inc. changes its name to try to reflect its new project and introduces an infinity symbol as a representation of Meta, although the design team also explains that it represents the letter ‘M’.
After the numerous scandals, Zuckerberg wants to wipe the slate clean with the company and distance himself from social networks to get closer to the metaverse, which he defines as “the next version of the Internet”.
What do we know about Facebook Meta’s bet on the metaverse?
It is easy to think of the movie ‘Ready Player One’ when talking about metaverse. It’s the word that Mark Zuckerberg kept repeating during Facebook Connect 2021, the event held today where he unveiled his plans.
The metaverse is a virtual universe that extends the physical world in digital, either with augmented reality, avatars, or virtual interfaces. One of the examples of this metaverse is Facebook Horizon, a kind of ‘Second Life’ in virtual reality.
According to Bloomberg estimates, the metaverse business could be worth up to 800 billion dollars by 2024. A sector with enormous potential for which Facebook, now Meta, is going to try to compete.
For the moment the metaverse as such remains more a flashy concept than a concrete tool. During this event, Zuckerberg has shown different videos of its possibilities, from ‘metaverse chess’ where two players in different parts of the world face each other or virtual avatars talking to real people.
“For many people, I’m not sure there’s ever a good time to focus on the future,” says Zuckerberg, who explains that “investing in the metaverse is going to be a big step forward.” A project to “teleport to places with distant people and interact with them in a virtual space”. A metaverse where Zuckerberg has made it clear that one of the concepts that will make it possible is interoperability.
By the next decade, Zuckerberg expects the metaverse to reach 1 billion users, generate billions of dollars and help the work of the millions of creators already working on the internet. “Facebook was created to connect people and now we will connect people through the metaverse,” Zuckerberg concluded. A name change that represents a complete turnaround in the company. Goodbye to the Facebook we know. It remains to be seen what Meta will offer us.