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Israeli startup Spike partners with newly rebranded Meta, launches VR email app

The Herzliya-based company says it is the first Israeli developer to have software available for the Oculus Quest 2 headset; Facebook renaming aimed at focus on ‘metaverse’

Illustrative graphic of the Spike application running on the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset (Spike/Courtesy)
Illustrative graphic of the Spike application running on the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset (Spike/Courtesy)

An Israeli startup was chosen by Facebook’s parent company, Meta, as one of the first 2D productivity apps to launch on their virtual reality platform.

Spike, an application that transforms regular email into chat-like conversations and brings team collaboration, tasks and video calls into one place, was recently launched on the Oculus Store, the Herzliya-based company announced Thursday.

It is also the first Israeli developer to launch an application on the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset, Spike said.

The app works on top of an existing email and is currently available for iPhones, Android devices, Mac and PC, and now on the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset.

“Spike’s 2D app on Oculus Quest 2 brings Spike’s next-generation communication and collaboration features into a virtual desk where your productivity is virtually unlimited,” the company said.

It will allow users to attend meetings virtually, in VR, “making remote work not only more personal, but much more productive as well,” Spike said.

Illustrative graphic of the Spike application running on the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset (Spike/Courtesy)

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced the embattled parent company’s name is being changed to Meta to represent a future beyond just its social media network.

The new handle comes as the social media giant tries to fend off one of its worst crises yet and pivot to its ambitions for the “metaverse” virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future.

In explaining the rebrand, Zuckerberg said the name “Facebook” just doesn’t encompass “everything we do” anymore. Zuckerberg’s network includes Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, its Quest VR headset, its Horizon VR platform and more — all in addition to Facebook.

Zuckerberg has described the metaverse as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of — instead of just looking at on a screen.

Essentially, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.

It also will incorporate other aspects of online life such as shopping and social media, according to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows emerging technologies.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will change its name to Meta, on October 28, 2021. (Screenshot)

Zuckerberg says he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade. The metaverse, he says, will be a place people will be able to interact, work and create products and content in what he hopes will be a new ecosystem that creates “millions” of jobs for creators.

Skeptics point out that the move also appears to be an attempt to change the subject from the Facebook Papers, a leaked document trove so dubbed by a consortium of news organizations.

Many of these documents, first described by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen, have revealed how Facebook ignored or downplayed internal warnings of the negative and often harmful consequences its social network algorithms created or magnified across the world.

Facebook has been hit by major crises previously, but the current view behind the curtain of the insular company has fueled a frenzy of scathing reports and scrutiny from United States regulators.

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