Because Facebook data scandals become part of the regular news cycle, the social media network wants to launch a new operating system instead of running hardware on a competitor. During an interview with The Information, Andrew Bosworth, vice president of hardware at Facebook, said the company is working on an operating system for the next generation of technology.
“We really want to make sure that the next generation has room for us. We didn’t think we could trust the market or competitors to ensure that this was the case, & said Bosworth in the interview. “And so we will do it ourselves.”
The Facebook operating system is probably intended for the hardware of the social media giant, including Oculus virtual reality headsets, Facebook Portal and hardware that is currently being prepared for the company. Facebook also indicated that this modified operating system could be the missing piece needed for augmented reality glasses.
Oculus and Portal currently use a version of Android. That means that Facebook must rely on the product of a competitor. An operating system can also limit what apps can do until the option is supported by the operating system. (While Facebook is looking for a custom operating system for its own hardware, the move would probably not affect users who continue to use Facebook apps on iOS and Android devices).
Facebook’s drive for hardware is clearly visible in the new space of 770,000 square feet that is currently under construction. The hardware team will move to the new space next year, including testing and prototyping. The space will eventually house around 4,000 Facebook employees at about 24 km from the company’s headquarters.
It is unclear how an operating system owned by Facebook would affect user privacy. The social media giant is already using data from devices such as Oculus and Portal to display more targeted advertisements in Facebook itself. Earlier this week, a researcher discovered an online database that had collected data from 267 million Facebook users. Most of these users are based in the US. The infringement has stored Facebook IDs, phone numbers and names and could possibly have been used for phishing and spam.
Last year, privacy scandals led to Facebook’s new data policy that tries to be less unclear about what information the network has about you.
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