On opening day at the F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Mark Zuckerberg shared a number of announcements, including two that reflect Facebook's goal to compete directly with YouTube and step up its presence on the internet video scene.
Facebook is introducing a new embeddable video player, meaning that users can now bring clips from the social network directly to outside websites and blogs simply by copying and pasting a string of HTML code.
Some observers consider the announcement somewhat overdue, since embeddable players have long been a feature of YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo, among other platforms. Previously, Facebook users could only embed videos as part of a supporting post, including the likes count and the comments feed. With the new player, videos from the social network can now be embedded on their own, making their integration into blog posts and website articles appear more seamless.
360-degree video: a new battleground
In a related announcement, Zuckerberg revealed the social network will soon support immersive and interactive 360-degree videos that respond to different points of view. This content will be available on PCs as well as on VR headsets, including the products of the Facebook-owned Oculus VR brand. The announcement comes just days after Google introduced the first 360-degree YouTube videos, which are also available from multiple viewing angles.
Facebook currently has around 1.39 billion users. Over the summer of 2014, the social network saw over one billion videos per day, and this figure is likely to have risen since then. Meanwhile, YouTube, which also has over one billion users, claims several billion views daily.