Giving that Facebook is betting big on videos since it copied Twitter’s Periscope by launching Facebook Live, it is no surprise it decided to launch something like this on Instant Articles.
It won’t be a surprised if 360 videos and photos on instant Articles are just a test run before the technology is deployed to other Facebook products.
One of Facebook’s biggest rival in the video niche, YouTube, had already provided support for 360-degree video on its service. So you could say this is Facebook trying to play catch up with YouTube and you won’t be wrong.
Instant Articles was launched in May last year in what people saw, yet again, as Facebook’s attempt to steal a bit of thunder from Accelerated Mobile Pages, a similar service from Google, owners of YouTube.
Instant Articles basically allows publishers and bloggers to post their articles directly on Facebook. This would enable them to take advantage of the huge number of users visiting the social forum daily.
There are some advantages to using Instant Articles: these include the ability to get more revenue from ads due to the exposure on Facebook, pages load faster, access to high quality photos, interactive maps, and videos that only play if are actually scrolling through the article.
So the addition of 360 video and photo is one more feature to make Instant Article the only resource you need to publish your stuff on Facebook.
Though 360 videos are getting more popular by the day, actually embedding them in your article is not that straight forward. That is, you have to use cameras specially made to shoot these sort of videos.
So basically, the use of 360 videos is limited to those who have the money to buy the equipment and technical know how to shoot the videos.
Even in YouTube that launched the service several months ago, only a few subscribers actually use the technology. I guess when the cameras become a little cheaper or commonplace, we shall be seeing more of them.
One big advantage of instant Articles 360 videos would have over others is that the video would be very easy to navigate on mobile devices. Before now, to enjoy 360-degree videos, you need to use a desktop computer or a laptop
To enjoy 360 videos on Facebook app either on iOS or Android, all you have to do is tilt your gadget. And to get perspective, move the device towards or away from you.
The images would be perfectly synced with the article as you navigate the video. You can also expand the video to watch them on full screen, drag to any part of the screen you wished to view them, or if the guide feature has been enabled, you can let the program chose the best viewing angle for you.
If you want to see Instant Articles 360-degree video in action, the place to head to is USA Today and Bild, one of the biggest media houses in Germany. Both of them are Facebook’s media partners of course.
Here is what the Product Manager of Instant Articles, Josh Roberts, said on the launch of this feature:
Starting today, publishers can begin including 360 videos and photos in their Instant Articles, and readers using the latest versions of Android and iOS will see the new experience. For more details on implementation, read our developer documentation.
In the coming months we plan to introduce more interactive features in Instant Articles and we’re excited to see how publishers experiment and innovate with these new storytelling tools.”
Personally, I like the idea of making articles more visually exciting to readers. I hope the excitement of videos would not make people forget to read articles though.
image credit: afaqs.com; media.fb.com