When the news reached our offices that SAMSUNG (the world’s largest phone maker) was partnering with Oculus VR (Facebook’s recent multi-billion dollar acquisition) to introduce a new virtual world, we were excited. However someone reminded us that Facebook was also promoting its new listening feature that turns on your phone’s mic and listens to all the sounds around you to better equip companies to personalize their sales promotions. This reminder seemed to take the wind out of our sails when just moments ago we were so excited about Oculus and Samsung.
Having preached the coming of the virtual kingdom for years now, of course what’s happening with Facebook and the Oculus virtual headset tech is thrilling. Our efforts here at the mag and our parent company, Avatar PR, have been to be on the forefront of this new virtual age. A recent article by Business Insider contributor Jim Edwards had this to say:
“Samsung and Facebook’s Oculus VR unit are working together to create a virtual reality device powered by Samsung’s Galaxy S5 line of phones, Engadget reports. You literally plug your phone into the headset and you’re inside a “shockingly good” virtual world.”
So two thumbs up for Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR because this deal with Samsung is going to make that purchase a very profitable one. Yet don’t keep those thumbs in the air for too long because as fellow Business Insider Joey Cosco reports:
“Facebook recently rolled out a new feature that’s leaving some users speechless and others running to sign a petition to have it removed, news.com.au reports.
When enabled by users, the social network’s new quirk allows its mobile app to turn on your smartphone’s microphone, listen in on what’s around you. Facebook identifies the music or TV shows it hears, and can tell the world you’re currently “Listening to Iggy Azalea” if it hears you bumping “Fancy.
The opt-in feature has many users creeped out. More than half a million have flocked to sign a sumofus.com petition to have the new gimmick axed from the app.”
We have already covered Google’s surveillance device in the form of Google Glass and now we have Facebook also wanting to hear all we do as Google watches all we do. If either of these companies ever buys the other or they merge, George Orwell’s sci fi classic 1984 will seem like it’s today’s news.
What does all this emphasis on watching and listening to us tell us? It tells us that information gathering is power. The more you know, the more you can do to profit in anyway beneficial to your specific needs.
Is it a coincidence that both these Facebook tech advances are for mobile devices right when the company is partnering with the largest phone maker in the world? No, it’s not. Mobile devices are expected to become more and more our devices of choice for shopping, entertainment viewing and news. You don’t have to be Einstein to see that if information is power, and power corrupts, then the petition circulating better reach its 750,000 signatures needed for Facebook to listen.