Thanks to the newly normalized culture of remote work, Facebook on Thursday launched a test of Horizon Workrooms, a virtual reality workplace app in which users of the company’s Oculus Quest 2 headsets can hold meetings as cartoonish and creepily legless avatar versions of themselves.
FACEBOOK via REUTERS A look at Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms virtual reality app.
The app also allows workers to collaborate with others using a whiteboard, stream what’s on their laptops and use their hands instead of remote controllers, among other features, according to Facebook’s corporate website.
“We shouldn’t really have to physically be together to feel present, collaborate or brainstorm,” Zuckerberg said during a demo of the app for journalists, according to CNET, which was present for the demo and reviewed the app on its YouTube channel.
The app is part of the CEO’s vision of turning Facebook into a “metaverse,” a Silicon Valley buzzword that Zuckerberg described to The New Yorker earlier this month as “a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces.”
It’s “an embodied Internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at,” he told the magazine, adding that he believes the “metaverse” will be “the successor to the mobile Internet.”
Despite Zuckerberg’s high hopes for the app, people on Twitter weren’t thrilled about the tech tycoon’s idea of making virtual work meetings even more awkward — and rather nightmarish-looking — given workers’ various levels of competence with technology (hello, lawyer who got stuck in kitten mode on Zoom).
To read people’s very funny remarks about the new app, just scroll down — no pricey headset needed.
Cannot wait to virtual-visit the magic of an *office conference room* 🥰 https://t.co/ShXFRYyGsj
— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) August 19, 2021
No one:Mark Zuckerberg: I made an app that combines the worst parts of working from home and working in the office. YOU'RE WELCOME. https://t.co/WEgd9f707u
— Apocalyptica (@ApocalypticaNow) August 19, 2021
THE WORLD: Do a better job reining in misinformation and extremism on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg: Here's more tech to have a meeting that should have been an email. https://t.co/irfN6gVUaj
— Christie Zizo (@ChristieZizo) August 19, 2021
MARK ZUCKERBERG: What if we made Zoom…suck worse?FACEBOOK LIEUTENANTS: Sir, it's not possible. It can't be doneZUCK [grinning devilishly]: That's where you're wrong. Get me my space helmet
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) August 19, 2021
— Aubry Andrews (@AubryAndrews) August 19, 2021
Personally I think it’s cool Mark Zuckerberg invented a way for his coworkers to punch him in the face without getting in trouble https://t.co/ETrZBdlFP5
— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) August 19, 2021
V funny to me that everyone is like “we have zoom fatigue!” and Facebook was like “ok strap this computer to your face and step into the metaverse, baby!”
— Ryan Mac🙃 (@RMac18) August 19, 2021
Mark Zuckerberg is coming to take the best thing about working at home during the pandemic away from you, because he is a hateful, soulless cyborg. https://t.co/EGT5oW1uMO
— Jeff B. tried to do his best, but he could not (@EsotericCD) August 19, 2021
Gayle King’s avatar losing interest in Mark Zuckerberg’s VR demonstration is literally all of us at work meetings pic.twitter.com/jdjFCC7NTV
— Saint Hoax (@SaintHoax) August 19, 2021
So Zuckerberg has invented The Sims. pic.twitter.com/w6YWsdoi41
— Alfonso Poza (@alfonso_poza) August 19, 2021
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 19, 2021
big day for zuckerberg pic.twitter.com/jACbmgOio2
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) August 19, 2021