- A top secret division within Facebook called Building 8 is working on at least four unannounced consumer hardware products.
- One product involves cameras and augmented reality, the futuristic tech that overlays virtual objects onto the real world. Evidence suggests Building 8 is also working on a drone.
- Building 8 will include a big retail push complete with warehouse operations, different retail experiences, and a “global contact center footprint.”
The all-star roster of tech veterans that Facebook began assembling one year ago is quietly making progress, steadily expanding the size of its ranks and the hardware prototypes under development.
The group, known as Building 8, currently has four simultaneous projects underway, spanning everything from cameras and augmented reality to science fiction-like brain scanning technology, Business Insider has learned.
And Facebook is already thinking about the coming-out party for its impending family of gadgets, laying the groundwork to drum up interest and sell the products when the time is right. Building 8 has yet to unveil any of its products, but people familiar with the matter said the hardware group is expected to play a key role in Facebook’s developer conference next month, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave his 10-year vision for the company last year.
The move to hardware is an ambitious and risky adventure for Facebook, which reigns as an internet superpower thanks to its nearly 2 billion users. With virtually no experience in the world of hardware, Facebook is taking on deep-pocketed competitors like Apple, Google and upstarts such as Snap, in a cut-throat business defined by thin profit margins and complex logistics.
And Facebook doesn’t appear to be treating Building 8 like a hobby.