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Oculus has just disclosed that soon, users will be able to login and access their Facebook account and News Feed from inside of the Oculus Home interface on Gear VR.
An Oculus delegate stated:
“We are beginning to test a Facebook tab for Oculus Home on Gear VR. We wanted to make it even easier for people to view Facebook within Home, since people were already visiting Facebook in the new Oculus Browser. With Facebook for Oculus Home, people will be able to browse News Feed, check notifications, send & receive messages, and more, all without leaving VR. This is currently a small test, and we will continue to refine the product experience before rolling it out more broadly.”
This is still a small scale test with Gear VR users worldwide, so only few people can yet see the functionality. Users can log in and out at any time, and so the use of Oculus Home is optional, not obligatory. The Facebook tab will remain as an option at the bottom. When asked about Rift support, the spokesperson replied that the current focus lies on Gear.
But could this Facebook in Gear VR factor in any way impact user data tracking? According to Oculus, Facebook does not track behavior differently in Gear VR than it does in other apps. Facebook and Oculus accounts will not be linked when logging into Facebook for Oculus Home. The company several months ago introduced a new sign-up process for first time Oculus Home users, in which they could choose to link their VR identity directly to their Facebook account. Although a small clause tucked away somewhere provided the option of getting around this linking, the result is that loads of users now have Oculus Home accounts linked to their Facebook. Which does not really seem to be much of an issue at present. After all, one of the greatest social VR experiences so far is Facebook Spaces, which is only feasible thanks to Facebook’s integration and support.