Snap isn’t the only social media company with smart glasses and a growing hardware portfolio, but what separates its approach from Meta? While announcing Pixy, a $229 drone that takes off from your hand to take selfies, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel spent some time explaining his decision to focus on experiences built for the real world instead. of the virtual metaverse.
“The reason we don’t use that word is because it’s kind of ambiguous and hypothetical,” he told the guard† †Just ask a room of people how to define it, and everyone’s definition is completely different.”
Mirror also told Media Today Chronicles Alex Heath says companies making metaverse pitches are “really talking about something that doesn’t exist yet,” as opposed to augmented reality, where “250 million people are engaged in AR every day in just the Snapchat application.” Those AR interactions span everything from the wacky selfie effects Snap made popular years ago to more sophisticated shopping experiences.
While they disagree on the metaverse, Spiegel and Mark Zuckerberg agree that AR goggles will one day be big. Zuckerberg has called them the “holy grail” device, and Spiegel has said AR glasses will hold the key to overlapping computers on the world around you. Zuckerberg’s first real AR glasses will not come until 2024, while Spiegel is already having AR glasses tested by developers today.
Zuckerberg’s vision for the future also includes virtual reality headsets to power the metaverse he spends billions of dollars building. He calls it an “embodied internet” full of holograms and virtual conference rooms where people will spend more and more time through headsets strapped to their faces. It’s a maximalist, escapist view of where the internet, and how we interact with it, is going.
In contrast, this is what Spiegel said: Media Today Chronicles heath last week: “Our fundamental proposition and our big commitment is on the real world, and that people really enjoy spending time together in reality. And that computing that can really improve, [and] make it more fun and contribute to shared experiences.”
“But eventually people will spend the majority of their time in the world because it’s a really beautiful place… And that’s why we talk very specifically about the products that we have today, the solutions that are out there today, and about the way people use our products, rather than talking hypothetically.”