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Facebook's Horizon Workrooms virtual meeting room

Facebook unveils VR office metaverse

As part of Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ ambitions, the tech giant has launched a mixed reality work collaboration app. Horizon Workrooms, available in open beta on Oculus Quest 2, enables colleagues to connect through VR wherever they are in the world.

Users can join meetings in virtual reality (VR) or dial into virtual meeting rooms from a web app via video. And, despite the focus on VR, Workrooms enables people to bring their physical desk and compatible tracked keyboard into the virtual environment.

Other features include avatars, spatial audio, a virtual whiteboard, different room layouts, hand tracking, and the ability to capture meeting notes, share files, chat, and integrate external calendar apps.

Facebook promises not to use “work conversations and materials to inform ads on Facebook”, and images and videos of physical environments are processed locally by Passthrough. In addition, anybody who signs up to Workrooms must agree to follow Facebooks ‘Community Standards and Conduct in VR’ Policy, while the Oculus reporting tool can be used to report people.

“Facebook and third-party apps do not access, view or use these images or videos to target ads,” said Facebook in a blog post. “Other people are not able to see your computer screen in Workrooms unless you choose to share it, and the permissions you grant for the Oculus Remote Desktop app are only used for the purposes of allowing streaming from your computer to your headset.”

The first colleague at a company to hop on Workrooms can create a new Workrooms team at workrooms.com. Colleagues already using Workrooms can send email invites to the rest of their team.

Developers are able to use the hand tracking and spatial audio features in their own apps. And Facebook is working on bringing the avatar, Passthrough, mixed-reality desk, and tracked keyboard capabilities to developers as well.

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