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Facebook (FB) Expands Its Metaverse Initiative, to Invest $50M

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Facebook's (FB - Free Report) metaverse ambitions are well known. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed his enthusiasm about developing products and services that will bring an interconnected set of experiences for its users globally.

Facebook will now invest $50 million over a two-year period on metaverse initiatives through its recently introduced XR Programs and Research Fund. Through this program, the company will collaborate with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, non-profit organizations and academic institutions to develop technologies to build the metaverse.

Notably, the term metaverse can be found in Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel. In layman's terms, it refers to a convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality (AR/VR) in a shared online space. The metaverse is expected to be the future of work and play, and an increasingly common aspect of our daily lives.

Per Facebook, the metaverse is a set of virtual spaces where a user can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space. However, the social-networking giant believes that it is not possible for a single company to develop metaverse-related products and many of these products are likely to take 10-15 years to achieve full potential.

Hence, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is looking to develop a partner base that will help it to build technologies for metaverse, and the XR Programs and Research Fund is an important step forward. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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Facebook, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

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Facebook is already working with the Organization of American States on job training and skills development for students, creators and small business owners.

With Women In Immersive Tech, Facebook is supporting women and underrepresented groups to boost presence in Europe’s virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors. Across Africa, Facebook is working with Africa No Filter, Electric South and Imisi3D to support creators working with immersive technology.

Facebook is also supporting external researchers from different institutions, including Seoul National University and the University of Hong Kong. These institutions are focusing on research into safety, ethics and responsible design.

Usage of artificial intelligence poses a threat to privacy, which can deter the development of the metaverse. National University of Singapore’s Centre for Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & the Law at the Faculty of Law will study privacy and data use.

Howard University will conduct research to understand the economic opportunity in the metaverse.

Facebook’s AR Experience Gives It a Head Start

Technology companies like NVIDIA (NVDA - Free Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , as well as game developers and platforms like Roblox (RBLX - Free Report) and Unity Software are already exploring ways to develop solutions for the Metaverse.

NVIDIA’s Omniverse is particularly noteworthy in this regard. Powered by its RTX technology, Omniverse provides a shared platform on which live collaborations take place between users and applications with real-time speed and simulated reality.

However, Facebook’s experience in building AR devices like Quest headset is expected to provide it a first mover’s advantage in developing technologies essential for building the metaverse.

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