In today’s episode of the AR/VR Magazine Podcast, I discuss the latest announcement that Facebook will be creating 10,000 jobs in the EU over the next 5 years to build the Metaverse.

I will be sharing my thoughts on this as well as touching on some additional rumors that Facebook may be announcing a company name change in the next couple of weeks.

Correction:

In the podcast, I said that the term “Metaverse” was based on the book “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. It was actually based on the book: “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson. Both books are equally relevant regarding the topic, however.

Show Notes

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Full Podcast Transcript:

[00:00:00.190]

Hey, everybody, this is Sean from ARVR Magazine. And in today’s episode I’m going to be talking about some news that came out from Facebook this week where they have announced that in the next five years they’re going to be hiring ten0 employees in the European Union to build out the Metaverse. This is huge news from Facebook. So I’m excited to talk to you about it. So I’ll see you in the episode.

[00:00:20.770]

If you like this podcast, be sure to click the subscribe button. You can also follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok in order to stay up to date on all the latest episodes.

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Zencaster.

Zencaster is a web-based platform for recording high-quality podcast production. We use Zencaster quite a bit here at Robot Spaceship Studios for recording remote podcasts. Basically, you log into the Web browser on your side, your guest logs in on their side, and the platform allows you to just record the podcast internally in the browser in their interface.

[00:00:52.930]

It records audio tracks individual tracks for each guest, and records video allows you to basically just do the whole thing within the browser and then download the tracks on your side to make some master and upload whatever you want to do. But basically, it’s been an invaluable tool for us, especially in the Pandemic, where we haven’t been able to get interview guests in the studio with us in person. So doing pretty much 90% of all the interviews are done remote these days, and we use Zencaster as our number one tool for doing that.

[00:01:22.570]

So I highly recommend Zancaster. If you’re looking to do your podcast, especially remote podcasts, we have a special offer. If you use the code Kemweb that is K-E-M-W-E-B. That’s a special promo code. If you sign up to Zencaster, you get a total of 40% off discount on the pro package for Zencaster for a period of three months after your 14 day trial. So if you want to save 40% off on your first three months of Zencaster, use the code Kimweb, K-E-M-W-E-B and get 40% off. So to learn more, just go to Zencaster.com.

[00:01:54.250]

That’s Z-E-N-C-A-S-T-R.com and check them out.

[00:02:02.650]

Welcome to the ARVR Magazine podcast your source for news, trends and analysis of the AR, VR and Immersive technology industry.

This podcast has been brought to you by the Robot Spaceship Podcast Network for more info and other great podcast series, go to Robotspaceship.com and subscribe and now your host, Sean Early.

[00:02:20.110]

Hey everybody, this is Sean Early and welcome to a new episode of the ARVR Magazine podcast. Some exciting news happening this week, which is the topic of today’s podcast. This week. Facebook has announced that over the next five years they will be creating 10,000 new jobs in the European Union, and that is some pretty big moves by Facebook, especially since their main focus of this hiring is to create what they say is going to be the metaverse. So this is a big statement from Facebook’s claiming that they are going to be expanding on their ARVR Immersive technology world.

[00:03:08.750]

So if you’re familiar with Snow Crash, Neil Stevenson’s book, the metaverse was the virtual world that everybody lived in. And so the Metaverse ,when they say Metaverse, that’s kind of what you imagine. And if Facebook is claiming that’s what they’re going to be building with 10,000 new employees over the next five years, that’s pretty major. If you know me or some of the topics we got to discuss about Immersive tech, I tend to be a little bit skeptical about some of these things just because there’s been a lot of buzz over the last ten years or so about virtual reality, augmented reality, the Metaverse, all of that.

[00:03:50.030]

And it’s really kind of we’ve seen headsets come and go. We’ve seen sort of the popularity rise and fall, but we really haven’t had this iPhone moment yet with Immersive tech, where every single person in the world kind of wants to have it and be part of it and the devices have gotten better. The tech has gotten better. The five G is rolled out, so the speeds have gotten much improved. But the thing that we really have been lacking is the sort of one platform that rules them all.

[00:04:22.550]

Apple has been teasing a lot. Google was working on some stuff. Their Immersive tech project seemed to die out over the last year and a half or so. A bunch of people left. They all went to Facebook. And so there’s kind of been a big dead spot in Immersive tech for a long time in regards to platform and Facebook coming out with this news this week has really sort of piqued my interest and sort of sparked a glimmer of hope in my skepticism of the Immersive technology industry.

[00:04:57.950]

So I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes. I’m going to kind of go into it a little bit more detail here in this podcast, just kind of touch over it, share some thoughts and feelings, and let’s just kind of see where it goes. I think the critical things to think about in terms of the news today one is just the news straight from Facebook on their page about the hiring and about their goal. For all of that. Obviously, there’s a lot of work that would need to be done to build something of equality, of which I think we would want to expect from something a Metaverse type platform, and also the fact that Facebook is going to be releasing that in the European Union is a pretty big statement from them, especially because of all the controversy they’ve had over the past few years about data Privacy, data protection, security, fake news, all of this stuff.

[00:05:53.450]

They’re under the fire quite a bit these days. And there’s also lots of grumblings and mumblings about major legal battles and breaking up the monopoly and all these things. So leads to another topic which has been leaked but only rumored about it was leaked. Somebody to The Verge this week that an insider from Facebook has said that Facebook will be announcing a new name change for the company could be in the next week or two since today is. Let’s look at the date. Today is October 22, 2021.

[00:06:31.970]

The Facebook Connect is coming out next week, so that would be an interesting time for them to make an announcement if they’re going to be doing a name change or something like that. So I’m looking forward to that date to see if they touch on this at all. That would be great if they can further build that out. I’m excited to see where this goes, especially since they’re talking about Europe, because again, Europe. I live in Germany, and I’ve been working in the tech industry in Europe for the past 14 years now, and it has been challenging.

[00:07:06.350]

I won’t deny it. Germany, especially is very strict on their data Privacy activities, and Facebook is always under the gun here. People are skeptical about Facebook. A lot of people use it, but still, when it comes to creating platforms and logging in and where your data is secured or not secured and German GDPR requirements for Privacy policy and all that, it’s really difficult to actually do a lot of modern marketing or a lot of stuff that is done, like in the States. You can’t do that over here because of Privacy laws.

[00:07:48.050]

So it makes things a lot more complicated. There’s a whole set of layers over top of doing any kind of platform approach in tech over here in Europe. So I think Facebook, since they’re in the tornado already, it’s an interesting move from them to actually just kind of jump ahead and say how we’re going to build it in Europe with European jobs. And they have Nick Kleg, who is their VP of global affairs. Nick Kleig is the former UK deputy PM of the UK Liberal Democrat in the Parliament.

[00:08:23.510]

He works with obviously a lot of things having to do on the political end of things for Facebook as well. So I think they’re really taking Privacy as a major focus Privacy policy. If you look at LinkedIn for Facebook, they are hiring a ton of Privacy policy experts for Germany. And I think Berlin and Hamburger was, I’m not positive. But anyway, lots of Privacy policy legal experts on their first roster of hiring for Facebook here in Germany. So that’s a good sign that they’re really trying to address that.

[00:09:01.430]

One thing they also mentioned is the digital single market, which has been an effort in Europe for a few years now to try to create a global digital economy that is within this more open system for commerce for digital activity for Privacy to try to develop that out as well. So being part of that digital single market approach and announcing the Metaverse platform, however, they’re going to explain this when the news comes out, it leads, at least to me, it’s big green lights in terms of where things are going.

[00:09:48.270]

And I don’t really see any other big tech company in the Gaffa constellation, the Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple. I don’t see anybody else who’s really taking a platform approach for something that big that includes Immersive technology. So I’m hopeful that this is a good sign for things moving forward. Again. It’s been the big missing piece for Immersive tech to tie a thing together. Obviously, when you think of the Metaverse, we have virtual reality. We have a few different headset manufacturers. Over the years we had the Oculuses and the Vibes and the Google headsets as well.

[00:10:30.550]

They kind of had their own sort of closed systems, but they were rich. They had lots of gains and experiences in them. But there wasn’t any way to just sort of navigate the virtual Internet and hop between different platforms and different businesses and different ecosystems. Fluidly like you can with just an Internet browser, for example. So a Metaverse approach is kind of the missing piece. And I think that’s always been the hard part when you get a headset or when you’re doing some sort of augmented reality experience on your phone or whatever, it’s normally like you sign up to one of these platforms.

[00:11:10.630]

You kind of deal with the games and experiences within them, or especially AR apps. There’s a lot of just you download a big giant application to explore some Immersive AR experience as well. But again, it doesn’t like jump between different environments and even AR on mobile. Even that isn’t so fluid. You have it in the cameras, you have it in the chats, so you can have AR overlays over your heads or whatever when you’re doing Snapchat or when you’re doing Facebook chat or whatever. So that’s sort of the mobile AR there.

[00:11:53.950]

We also had the Pokemon Go experience, which in my opinion, still hasn’t really been matched for a global experience, really. I mean, it wasn’t an ecosystem in Pokemon Go, but everybody who had the app all over the world can play. And wherever they were in the world, there were places to play and the things to find. And so I think Metaverse really has to be on that caliber. It has to be fluid. It has to be open. It has to be like browsing the Internet, and it’s a topic I’ve worked out as some startups as well trying to tackle this.

[00:12:30.490]

But again, it’s a major initiative you have to do. It takes a lot of money. It takes a lot of technology, a lot of development, obviously. As we see Facebook moving forward, it takes a lot of legal effort to secure the security and the Privacy of people involved, especially when you’re talking about augmented. When you’re walking around the augmented web. Let’s put it that way or the XR web, or however you call it when you walk around people, there’ll be certain Privacy when you’re walking around with the lens over your face, whether it’s a camera, whether it’s some sort of device or some sort of glasses or whatever with an AR lens and you’re walking through the world, everything becomes the web, which means everybody could be an avatar.

[00:13:23.350]

Everybody could not want to be an avatar. People could want their Privacy. They don’t want to be viewed through this lens. And so Privacy is so important in all of this that it has to be tackled first. And I think that’s really again, it’s a good sign that Facebook is really taking this and leading with it and getting involved in the European Union, who is very strict, especially in Germany, about that. So this initiative, in order for it to work, they have to get their Privacy policy in order they have to get those docs in a row.

[00:13:53.290]

Otherwise it’s not going to happen. Like I said, just working in marketing in Germany, there are so many things that you can’t do like they do in the States, just for digital marketing purposes, any platform that you use, any digital marketing platform in Germany that you use in your EU. I should say specifically, if somebody goes to your website and they enter in an email, like a mailing list or something, that data has to be stored on European servers, and it can’t be accessible to the States.

[00:14:31.510]

There’s been a lot of changes in that over the past few years, depending on political environments. And who is President America and blah, blah, blah, blah blah. I’m not going to get into that. But all these different types of data protection sort of loopholes have fallen through. And so now they’re becoming much more strict in Europe. So all the data that is captured in Europe has to be stored in Europe. It has to stay in Europe, it can’t transfer to the States vice versa. So it’s difficult just to run digital in Europe, much less try to create a new form of Metaverse virtual web within the digital single market, which is promised.

[00:15:17.450]

So again, I’m skeptical that’s going to happen anytime soon, just because I think some massive legal changes will have to come in place in Europe for that to be able to streamline enough to be able to do what I think people at least want to be able to do with some sort of Metaverse environment. Again, I don’t foresee things moving quickly in that world, but maybe Facebook and 10,000 jobs in the EU will motivate that a little bit, which I think that’s probably what they’re doing.

[00:15:52.130]

And I think Facebook, again, is also under the gun with so many other Privacy issues that this possibility that they will be changing their name much like a couple of years ago when Google changed the name to Alphabet and created sub companies like Google and blah, blah blah. I think Facebook will probably do that based on the rumors that’s what they’re going to be doing. So they need to sort of split up their monopoly. They need to have an Umbrella Corp that has underneath them all these different aspects, the Snapchats and the WeChats or not the WeChats.

[00:16:29.150]

Sorry, Instagram, all that stuff. And if they’re going to have Oculus, they’re going to have whatever headsets are coming out with. They’re doing partnerships with Rayban. They’re doing all this sort of move towards an augmented lens or XR lens. However you want to call it, there’s a lot of pieces here that need to fit together, and it can all just fall into Facebook, obviously, because especially with all the legal battles they’re into right now. It’s a smart move, like I said, and I think it’s really going to be interesting to see where they go with this again.

[00:17:08.330]

Like I said, it’s sort of lighted a fire of interest under me because that’s been the biggest challenge with digital in Europe. But again, there is also very good reason for why that’s challenging here. People are very critical about protecting their data here. And so if they get this right, this could be huge. This could be the move we’re looking for for Immersive tech. This could be the iphone moment. It could be paving the ground to clear the way for this iphone moment, whatever that is.

[00:17:45.950]

Obviously, Apple still has some kind of headset they’re coming out with eventually. I don’t know for sure what it’s going to be, but they’re announcing that they’re still playing in the space. Facebook still has. They have Oculus Quest two, they have all these new headsets they’re coming out with. There’s all the XR headsets from China and lots of different things that are sort of playing in the space as well. So it’s a great time for that sort of conversion to happen here, at least in one unified platform.

[00:18:16.310]

So I’m excited about it. What that’s going to be? Who knows what they’re going to call that new company? Who knows? There’s been discussion, obviously, Facebook. They have Facebook Horizon, which is sort of their internal world beta that they’re working on. They have Horizon work rooms that they announced about a month or two ago. I don’t remember something like that where it says this workspace where people with headsets can get in there or they can do it through their browser or whatever. And they can all communicate in a virtual space.

[00:18:50.270]

Virtual work rooms have been something that’s been around for a few years now, obviously, and not just Facebook, but different places hasn’t quite caught on so much. People are still doing these kind of group engagements in VR, but again, it’s not mainstream. Corporate America isn’t all meeting in VR right now. There’s no need for it. But again, I think if this stuff happens plays out over the next few years, the way I hope it will, it could change. I don’t know. We’ll see. But again, like I said, I’m very hopeful and very positive about it.

[00:19:30.270]

I’m a little skeptical that it’s going to happen within the next five years, obviously, like they said. But if they keep hiring people, especially in Germany to work on these issues and in the EU, that could be some exciting movements, especially with Facebook. So I keep your eyes on it. I’m going to check out Oculus Connect next week and see if there’s any announcements. I’m crossing my fingers. There’ll be something there and we’ll just have to see. So maybe I’ll do a podcast in the next week or two once we know more and I’ll catch everybody up on that.

[00:20:01.950]

Otherwise, I’ll just put all the various links and stuff that I’ve been scratching together in the podcast notes, and you can kind of research it for themselves. Again. Some of it is speculation. Some of it is actually true. I mean, obviously, Facebook did announce 10,000 jobs in the EU. They didn’t announce it’s going to be because some sort of mediverse related activity, it was brought up. Digital single market was mentioned by them. So there is something happening here. And Facebook has not denied that they came out with it.

[00:20:30.750]

It’s clear. So there is movement here. So it’s exciting. So with that said, I’m going to leave it at that. I’ve been rambling, but I really just wanted to talk about this. If you guys know anything about this, any insider knowledge, any conspiracy theories or any big ideas about where this is going, feel free to share. Let me know. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on that. So with that said, this has been Arvier Magazine podcast. I’m Sean Early and be sure to subscribe to the podcast.

[00:21:00.930]

You can go to arvrmagazine.com and check out all the links also show for channels. We’re on all the platforms for podcasting. Apple, we’re on Spotify. Still waiting for that Facebook podcast platform to come out, at least in the mainstream. So I’m looking forward to that. I’ll be there too when it comes out. So with that said, I will talk to you probably in a week or two. Bye.

[00:21:27.270]

If you like this podcast, don’t forget to click the subscribe button to stay up to date on all the latest episodes. We are currently on Spotify, Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts & Anchor with support for more platforms on the way.

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Sean Earley is the podcast host and Executive Editor of AR/VR Magazine, Modern Musician Magazine & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development, PR and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars, VR and coffee.