You might’ve seen that at the end of last week, Facebook announced it was rebranding and becoming ‘Meta’. The app, however, will still retain the name ‘Facebook’. It’s a similar situation to when Google changed its company name to Alphabet, but kept the name Google for its product.
But why has the name changed?
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the change to ‘Meta’ is reflective of what is known as the ‘metaverse’. Zuckerberg believes the metaverse will be the future of the internet.
What on earth is the metaverse?
The idea of the metaverse is a fully immersive, 3D part of the internet. We know, according to The Verge, that Zuckerberg is pushing the team at Meta to come up with technology for the metaverse that will “one day let you show up in a virtual space as a full-bodied avatar, or appear as a hologram of yourself in the real-world living room of your friend who lives across the planet”. Users will be able to participate in the metaverse through hardware such as virtual reality (VR) glasses.
Zuckerberg described, “the next platform and medium will be even more immersive, an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse. And you’re going to be able to do almost anything you can imagine, get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create as well as entirely new categories that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today”.
Did Facebook, now Meta, come up with the metaverse?
No, the idea of the metaverse has been around since the 1990s, after it was mentioned in the dystopian novel, Snow Crash. Although the concept mentioned in the novel is quite different from the one Mark Zuckerberg and Meta are trying to create, Meta is now trying to reclaim the metaverse to create a new economy of virtual goods and services.