Snap isn’t the only social media company to offer smart glasses and an expanding hardware portfolio, but what separates its approach from Meta? While announcing Pixy, a $229 drone that takes off from your hand to capture selfies, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel spent some time explaining his decision to focus on experiences designed for the real world rather than for the virtual metaverse.
“The reason we don’t use that word is that it’s quite ambiguous and hypothetical,” he said. The Guardian. “Just ask a room of people how to define it, and everyone’s definition is totally different.
Spiegel also said The edge Alex Heath that companies doing metaverse presentations are “really talking about something that doesn’t exist yet,” as opposed to augmented reality, where “there are 250 million people interacting with augmented reality every day in just Snapchat app”. These AR interactions include everything from the goofy selfie effects Snap made popular years ago to more advanced shopping experiences.
Although they disagree on the metaverse, Spiegel and Mark Zuckerberg agree that AR glasses will one day matter. Zuckerberg called them the “holy grail” device, and Spiegel said the AR glasses will be essential for overlaying computing on the world around you. Zuckerberg’s first real pair of AR glasses won’t arrive until at least 2024, while Spiegel already has developer-tested AR glasses today.
Zuckerberg’s vision of the future also includes virtual reality headsets to power the metaverse he’s spending billions of dollars to build. He calls it an “Embodied Internet” full of holograms and virtual boardrooms in which people will increasingly spend time through headsets strapped to their faces. It’s a maximalist, evasive view of where the internet is going and how we interact with it.
On the other hand, here is what Spiegel said The edge Heather last week: “Our fundamental thesis and our big bet is about the real world, and that people really enjoy spending time together in reality. And that IT can really improve that, [and] make it more fun and contribute to shared experiences.
“But ultimately people are going to spend the vast majority of their time in the world because it really is a wonderful place… And that’s why we talk very specifically about the products we have today, solutions that exist today, and how people use our products, rather than talking about assumptions.”