Facebook rolls out Messenger integration on Oculus headsets
Facebook says the VR Messenger app will allow friends who are online to jump into an Oculus Party, while also allowing users to message friends who weren't using their VR headsets and reach them via the regular Messenger app.
Facebook spent much of last year working on integrating its three major social networking assets - Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, in an attempt to allow users to be able to chat with friends and acquaintances across the platforms and part of Mark Zuckerberg's broader goal of bringing ‘interoperable' end-to-end encryption to all three apps.
However, that's not the only area that Facebook is working towards increased integration with its main product - the company said it is rolling out Messenger on Oculus for users who have logged in to Quest and Quest 2 with their Facebook account. You can text your friends while your VR headset is on, even if they're at work - the messages will show up on their Messenger apps on phone or desktop.
Facebook says the VR Messenger app will also allow users to type messages in VR, or opt for a preset greeting, or a speech-to-text feature instead. It will also allow users who are currently playing to create an Oculus Party and invite friends to ‘jump in and play the same game together'. The Messenger app integration goes live this week, the company said on its blog on Tuesday.
Facebook is also launching a new way for VR app developers to share their apps with Oculus Quest owners outside of the Oculus Store. While the store remains the best option for users who want a curated app experience, the company wants developers to be able to share smaller, ‘passion projects' and other creations as well. To this end, the new App Lab will let them share their creations with Quest owners directly - no Store approval necessary.
Some of the titles that are already available on App Lab are - Ancient Dungeon Beta, Baby Hands, Crisis VRigade, Deisim, Descent Alps - Demo, Gym Class, MarineVerse Cup, Puzzling Places - Beta, Spark AR Player, Smash Drums Demo and Zoe. Facebook says that installing these apps is as simple as clicking on a link, going to app and hitting download. App Lab titles will not be lodged in the Store, so users can search for the exact name and purchases made in App Lab will show up in user's Quest library and receive automatic updates, the company said.