He's talked straight-faced about Facebook one day using telepathy to connect users, but with such a reality presumably a very, very long time away, Mark Zuckerberg needs something else to take his social networking service to the next level.
And that something else appears to be virtual reality, a technology that, thanks to the fact that it actually exists, leads us to believe that the Menlo Park company will soon enough have plenty of its users connecting via face-based gear. It didn't drop $2 billion on Oculus VR for nothing, did it.
Speaking to analysts on Wednesday following the release of the company's latest earnings report, Zuck said that while we used to share using mainly text, we're now in a time where "it's mostly visual and photos."
Looking ahead, he said he believed we're now entering a period where videos will dominate increasingly over stills, adding, "But that's not the end of the line….there's always a richer way that people want to share and consume thoughts and ideas, and I think that immersive 3D content is the obvious next thing after video."
As VR technology steadily develops through increased investment from major players in the industry, and talented creatives come up with ever more exciting ways in which to use it, the success of VR looks assured.
For the immediate future, the Facebook CEO sees games and video as the primary use for VR, but told analysts, "Once you start to get more of a critical mass, I think you're going to start to get social applications, which is what we as a company are more interested in over the long term and think have a huge amount of potential, in addition to the video and gaming stuff which I think's going to be awesome."
Zuck's comments came soon after the company announced Q2 results that beat Wall Street expectations. Total revenue hit $4.04 billion, a significant jump from the $2.91 reported for the same quarter a year ago. However, year-on-year net income fell slightly, from $791 million to $719 million, a loss that can be attributed in part to big spending on talent acquisition.
Facebook's monthly active users reached 1.49 billion, up from 1.44 billion a year earlier, meaning roughly half of all the people in the world with Internet access use Facebook. With Zuckerberg's Internet.org initiative continuing its work to connect remote parts of the planet, the CEO now has his eye on the other half.