With no end to the Covid-19 pandemic in sight, it looks like many of us may be working home for even longer than we initially imagined.

Facebook is capitalizing on that with the release of its new virtual reality office meeting software, Horizon Workrooms. The idea is that you can interact with your colleagues remotely in a simulated, 3D conference room, complete with cartoon avatars, “spatial sound,” and hand motion tracking. Think of it like Zoom on steroids. For now, the software is free to use, and anyone can join by dialing in to video call — but to get the full experience, you’ll need one of Facebook’s Oculus 2 headsets. Facebook says the Oculus-powered version of Workrooms has already been used widely within the company for the past six months.

“Workrooms is our flagship collaboration experience that lets people come together to work in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance,” the company said in a press release announcing the launch.

The new product is another sign that Facebook is investing heavily in its VR- and AR-filled “metaverse,” which CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently described as an “embodied internet” where people communicate through digital representations of themselves. Facebook recently created an executive team to build out the metaverse, and as of last March, nearly a fifth of the company was working on AR or VR, according to the Information.

Zuckerberg — along with many other leaders in tech — views AR and VR as the next frontier in computing, akin to the mobile phone.

But so far, the technology has only really taken off among gamers. So it makes sense that the company is building a product that aims to make the technology more useful for a mainstream audience. A spokesperson

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