No Looking Back

We learned a lot about ourselves and our teams in 2020 and have a great deal to be proud of. I want us to take time to reflect on the year that was and give a glance towards 2021, hoping our next year will be better than the last. There has never been a better time to get in the lab and build products that deliver meaningful social presence, and to do so in a responsible, privacy-centric way.  

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Our conviction in the work we do has only grown this past year as people globally were forced to stay apart to slow the spread of COVID-19. Portal helped people stay connected, celebrate birthdays, weddings, graduations, and much more in life. We witnessed some of our biggest calling numbers during the holidays — when families couldn’t be together at the table, Portal filled that seat. Personally, Portal has played a key part in my daily life, letting me stay connected with my family and my team.

VR had a tremendous year. Oculus Quest 2 is our fastest-growing VR headset, thanks to the convergence of leading VR form factors and the content built by our developer community. Quest 2 surpassed the original Quest’s monthly active people in less than 7 weeks, and more people are using it to stay fit, play games with friends, and collaborate for work. And we are continuing to diversify our user base, with more women using Quest 2 than any of our previous headsets.

We also implemented some product changes that were key in giving people a better, safer experience in VR — starting with introducing a single way to log into Oculus using your Facebook account, which makes it easier for them to find, connect, and play with friends in VR. This allows us to deliver multiplayer and social experiences and stronger privacy and security measures. In 2021, we’ll offer more options and control over how to show up in VR, including persona and privacy controls.

Looking ahead, my team will continue to focus on our strategic priorities and the power of virtual and augmented reality. Some of the things to anticipate from FRL in 2021:

Bringing Social to the Forefront

This is the year we take steps to make immersive experiences more social with Facebook Horizon. And as the office concept evolves, we’re building out our capacity for meaningful social presence in virtual work spaces. Portal was a real hero last year as people logged on to stay connected — and productive. We remain committed to expanding VR's capabilities for collaboration and productivity and broadening Portal’s utility in the workplace. We’ll continue to highlight the advancements we’re making toward the future of work.

Commitment to AR

In 2020, we shared some of our research work on audio, AR input, and computer vision. The first glimpses of the future will arrive sooner than later as we launch our first pair of smart glasses from Ray-Ban, in partnership with Luxottica.

Simultaneously, we continue to build the ecosystem around these technologies. The Spark AR  creator platform — only a year after opening on Instagram — has seen over 400K creators publish AR effects. We’ve been inspired by their creativity and will continue to expand Spark AR for expression and connection in social settings like real-time video calling, or making more informed purchases. We’re pushing hard on the underpinnings like location and augmenting in the world to help define the path to true AR glasses, while setting clear privacy expectations. It’s early days, but we’re intent on giving creators more to do in AR and with greater capabilities.

The Future of Connection

Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. This is ingrained in our work at FRL and is fundamental to what we do. Portal and Oculus will continue to be assets for teams that shift to working remotely permanently. We’ll continue to communicate transparently, support our developer community, and invent and build products that connect and bring real value to the world. It rests on us as technology stewards to show the technology is safe and ready for broader societal adoption. Only then will we see increased comfort and usage in every industry.

There’s a lot to accomplish in 2021, but as we look to the future we know certain things will remain a priority like privacy and responsible innovation. Privacy will always be baked into our entire design process, and we’ll continue to evolve our approach. Our team prides itself on solving problems, inventing, innovating, and driving the world of VR and AR forward as we continue to work in the lab. We can push ourselves to reach new heights this year. We need to be that mechanism that forces adoption.