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Facebook Is Exploring Building Its Own Operating System

Facebook is exploring building its own operating system as it pushes forward with the creation of augmented reality glasses, a move that would make the company less reliant on operating systems run by Apple and Google.

“We’re looking at all options right now, which include partnering with other companies and building a custom operating (system) designed for augmented reality,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement to CNET on Friday.

The effort to potentially create its own operating system illustrates how the social media giant is trying to ensure that other companies don’t throw a wrench in its plans to launch future devices. That includes AR glasses and a wristband that would let users control their smartphones, computers and other digital devices with their minds. Facebook’s seemingly endless list of privacy and security mishaps, though, could make users wary about giving the company even more data about their daily lives.

Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who leads Facebook’s hardware efforts, told The Information that it wants to “ensure that the next generation has space” for the company. “We don’t think we can trust the marketplace or competitors to ensure that’s the case. And so we’re gonna do it ourselves,” he told the media outlet.

Facebook has run into roadblocks in the past with owners of the some of the world’s largest operating systems. In February, Apple showed how much power it had over Silicon Valley tech giants when it temporarily yanked their enterprise certificates — digital signatures used to run software on iPhones and iPads — for violating its rules. That caused a big headache for both Facebook and Google because it led to a shutdown of internal apps being used by employees.

A commanding presence in social networking, Facebook in recent years has been expanding its efforts to build more hardware. It owns virtual reality headset maker Oculus and has launched a line of devices for video chatting called Portal. Virtual reality hasn’t become mainstream yet, but augmented reality that blends together the real world and computer-generated visuals got more popular with AR games such as Pokemon Go. Social media companies, including Facebook and Snapchat, have been introducing new AR effects so users can filter their faces to look like an animal or fictional character.

Facebook is reportedly working on two pairs of AR glasses and has partnered with Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses maker Luxottica. One pair is similar to Snapchat Spectacles and the other is a more advanced pair as part of a project code-named Orion.

This also isn’t the first time the company has tried to create its own operating system. In 2013, Facebook partnered with HTC to release a new phone that reportedly had a custom-made version of Google’s Android mobile operating system.―CNET

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