On 28th October 2021, Facebook rebranded itself to “Meta” to focus on the metaverse – the successor of the Internet. The company’s page mentioned that Meta will focus on giving life to the metaverse and helping people connect, find communities, and scale their businesses. The idea of the metaverse is not new. Snow Crash, a dystopian novel by Neal Stephenson from the 1990s, talks about this concept elaborately. It describes a virtual world to which people can flee to take a break from the real world.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg reckons that in the coming years, people will spend time in a 3D version of the Internet that is fully immersive using several devices made for such a virtual world. In short, Meta is building the future, the “beyond.”
“Our new company brand captures where our company is going and the future we want to help build,” Meta said. It is creating the next evolution in the way people are using the Internet. It is trying to design a world where you can “teleport instantly teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up.” Zuckerberg said. With the use of technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality, you can stay in the physical world and be a part of the virtual space as well. So when you can’t be together with your loved ones in the physical world, you can enter the virtual space with them and spend time together!
Will Meta work?
In 2004, when Facebook launched, it changed the way how people connected. And with other social media apps like Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp under its belt, it has revolutionized how people interacted. Now, with Meta, the company is transitioning beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences using AR and VR. They want people to experience the next evolution in social technology.
But will the concept of metaverse work? Will Meta prove successful in helping people experience the 3D virtual space like it aspires to? That is something we’ll have to wait and watch. But here are some things to consider.
The whole concept of the metaverse and rebranding to Meta seems like Facebook is trying to divert attention away from the recent negative stories about it. Rumor has it that Facebook has taken this decision because the brand has become toxic.
Next, the “metaverse” that Zuckerberg is targeting doesn’t yet exist. He is keen on stressing that the metaverse is a long-term product. But rebranding the company with a name unrelated to the main offering seems a bit strange. Because the company gets its revenue mostly from advertising on Facebook and Instagram.
Also, we have seen other big tech rebrands fail as well. For instance, we never refer to Google as “Alphabet,” even though the rebranding happened in 2015.
When will the metaverse come into existence?
Meta owns VR headset maker Oculus. Last year, it launched an experimental version of two the metaverse: Horizon World and Horizon Workrooms. Horizon World let friends meet virtually, and Horizon Workrooms enabled virtual work meetings.
What we can gather for now is that the metaverse is a work in progress. Meta plans to fully realize the idea in another 10-15 years. The company aims to spend billions of dollars to bring it to life. And it will also be hiring actively for this project.
So does this mean that Zuckerberg is no longer interested in running Instagram and Facebook? Has he dedicated himself to creating virtual worlds that he believes will transform human interaction?
Well, we will have to wait and watch whether the existing customers will go along with it.