Facebook launches 360-degree videos

Facebook has joined YouTube and implemented a feature which allows users to view 360-degree videos.

As of Wednesday (September 23), users on the PC and smartphones can view 360-degree videos, and to mark the new feature, Facebook has released a couple of cool videos.

Those include a Star Wars clip, one which lets you look around the desolate, war-torn wasteland of a far-off planet, a Saturday Night Live video, which has you join the live audience during its 40th anniversary show, and a GoPro clip which brings you along for a dirt bike ride in the Idaho desert.

The clips work in the same way as they do on YouTube: once the video starts rolling, you can press and hold the left mouse button on the screen to “grab” it, and then move in any direction you want.

On smartphones, you can tilt the device to rotate the image, but panning with your finger also works.

On his Facebook page, Facebook's top product executive, Chris Cox, called it "a really cool experience that takes you somewhere else." He said anyone will be able to upload 360 Video "very soon."

“It’s an open-ended format, so we’re really excited to see what creators around the world come up with as they get their hands on it,” he wrote.

It’s a great feature, one which most certainly brings us a step closer to virtual reality, but it still doesn’t come cheap. A camera capable of recording 360-degree video will set you back at least $400 (£260).