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mmhmm.app

Founded Year

2020

Stage

Series B | Alive

Total Raised

$130.5M

Last Raised

$100M | 1 yr ago

Mosaic Score

+10 points in the past 30 days

What is a Mosaic Score?
The Mosaic Score is an algorithm that measures the overall financial health and market potential of private companies.

About mmhmm

mmhmm is a communication platform via video that works in both real-time and asynchronously. Users can add mmhmm as a virtual camera to video chats, meetings, and presentations on MacOS and Windows beta.

mmhmm Headquarters Location

548 Market St

San Francisco, California, 94104,

United States

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Research containing mmhmm

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CB Insights Intelligence Analysts have mentioned mmhmm in 2 CB Insights research briefs, most recently on Jul 9, 2021.

mmhmm Patents

mmhmm has filed 2 patents.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Groupware
  • Social networking services
  • Teleconferencing
patents chart

Application Date

Grant Date

Title

Related Topics

Status

5/18/2021

4/26/2022

Videotelephony, Teleconferencing, Web conferencing, Groupware, Social networking services

Grant

Application Date

5/18/2021

Grant Date

4/26/2022

Title

Related Topics

Videotelephony, Teleconferencing, Web conferencing, Groupware, Social networking services

Status

Grant

Latest mmhmm News

The tech companies that are — and aren’t — publicly planning for life after Roe

May 13, 2022

PROTOCOL SOURCE CODE Want your finger on the pulse of everything that's happening in tech? Sign up to get Protocol's daily newsletter. Email Address Source Code Thank you for signing up. Please check your inbox to verify your email. Email me an authentication link A login link has been emailed to you - please check your inbox. Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter. The role of video has changed dramatically over the past few years. Image: mmhmm Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_ ) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com. May 12, 2022 The workplace video call is a given. But the best way to do it is still up for grabs. Phil Libin saw the potential for a more flexible, fun video app back when he started mmhmm in 2020 after goofing around with a green screen in the early, Zoom-obsessed pandemic days. He ended up zeroing in on asynchronous work, deciding to build a product where people could make truly engaging video presentations , a la “The Tonight Show.” But this version was pretty inaccessible for the average person. You had to download the mmhmm app and install a virtual camera. If you wanted to use mmhmm’s effects or backgrounds, you had to run it with a third-party app. That’s why mmhmm has launched a web-based product that lets people record, watch and talk over video together. “Our current app is meant to let you create really impressive videos because we wanted to stand out, because there’s so much stuff in this space,” co-founder and CEO Libin, the former CEO of Evernote, said. “This version is meant to just get rid of most of the friction points.” Mmhmm for web is a revamped version of OOO : a “dangerously untested preview” of mmhmm for web that launched in September 2021. OOO let up to 10 people hop into a video call with virtual backgrounds ranging from space galaxies to roaring fire pits. Mmhmm is not the place for massive live meetings. The new version for web still caps the number of participants at 10, as more than that is “just not a very good experience,” Libin said. The biggest thing mmhmm for web does is combine the synchronous (live video) and asynchronous (recorded video) parts of the product. Libin thinks this seamlessness is missing in other workplace video software. How do you easily shift from consuming a recorded presentation and then talking with your co-workers about that presentation? “There's a time and a place for live video, and a time and a place for recorded,” Libin said. “What is that time and place? And then how do you move between them?” The role of video has changed dramatically over the past few years, prompting interest in elaborate webcams , content-centric meetings and even video game-like platforms with little video bubbles . Our reliance on video has made us think more deeply about it, whether it’s the way video chat interfaces look or the impact that being in too many video calls might have on our mental health . Roelof Botha , leader of Sequoia (an investor in mmhmm), thinks our growing familiarity with video has opened the door for more creative solutions. “I remember when FaceTime first came out, people were so self-conscious, especially the older generation,” Botha said. “Now, you’ve seen the sea change where more and more people are comfortable seeing themselves and hearing themselves.” The biggest thing mmhmm for web does is combine the synchronous and asynchronous parts of the product. Image: mmhmm While mmhmm for web is no longer in the preview phase, it’s still experimental and open-ended. You can drag your video around the screen, rotate yourself upside down or make your video giant. Anyone in the call can change the screen background or pull up an old meeting video to dissect. “For now, we have a very democratic idea,” Libin said. He expects that will change if mmhmm grows — there are many bad actors on the internet: Just look at Zoombombers . Mmhmm will need to build more granular admin controls if it fully expands into the enterprise. But the startup isn’t there yet. “We’re not rushing to implement things that prevent you from doing something,” Libin said. “We’re still in the phase where we’re adding things that let you do something.” Wouter Van Geluwe, the CTO for Western Europe at Adobe, is an mmhmm early adopter. He spends his days in back-to-back presentations to customers, demoing Adobe products. His presentations need to sparkle, so he has the full green screen and lighting setup. The ability to record with another presenter on mmhmm for web will be useful for him. “If you can share the same canvas and the same slides behind you and simply put somebody next to you, that's definitely easier for the audience to follow,” Van Geluwe said. It’s difficult to encourage software change inside a company like Adobe, Van Geluwe said, but he’s helped organize mmhmm training sessions and order office-based green screens. Still, he doesn’t think mmhmm will be for everybody. If you want to unlock mmhmm’s full power, investing in green screens, ring lights and high-quality video cameras is key, he said. “Not everybody will do that,” Van Geluwe said. “If you want that picture-perfect image, you will still need to have that hardware. I believe that organizations should invest in this.” For the everyday person who’s fine unlocking just some of mmhmm’s power, Libin is betting that mmhmm for web will do. It will still work with Zoom or Microsoft Teams if people prefer other video chatting services. But ultimately, he wants mmhmm to be the all-in-one video platform. “I don't think that having multiple products at each layer is the way to go,” Libin said. “I think that the product that effectively combines the layers is the one that is going to win.” Keep ReadingShow less May 9, 2022 April 26, 2022 Imagine: You’re the leader of a real estate team at a restaurant brand looking to open a new location in Manhattan. You have two options you’re evaluating: one site in SoHo, and another site in the Flatiron neighborhood. Which do you choose? Companies that need to make these types of decisions leverage foot traffic patterns coupled with additional data sources to build a sound approach to real estate and investment decisions. Below, we take a closer look at points of interest and foot traffic patterns to demonstrate how location data can be leveraged to inform better site selecti­on strategies. Analyze: Make sense of where people are moving to inform better business decisions. Model & Forecast: Identify and predict trends based on foot traffic in different regions, cities and neighborhoods. Select sites: Determine where to place new locations or develop properties based on foot traffic (or lack thereof) in commercial districts. Derive insights: Deeply understand points of interest and behavioral patterns, and how they're changing over time. Here’s how foot traffic data can impact site selection or real-estate decisions. Look at your competitive set: Identify current venues in a neighborhood or area to determine where there might be white space and to quantify the competitive landscape. Analyze your overall competitive set (e.g., in this report we looked at all restaurants) as well as more specific, relevant categories of venues (e.g., in this report we looked at cafes). Know which places your prospective customers go now, and where you might have an opportunity to take market share or position yourself alongside businesses that provide synergies. Know whether your consumer traffic would come from tourists, or locals: Classify tourists versus locals by looking at individuals with home ZIP codes more than 120 miles away in your analysis to better understand the catchment area (i.e., where consumers are coming from). Know more about consumers in your neighborhood: Analyze the demographics of consumers in a particular neighborhood to understand the types of people a prospective site might draw so that you can select the optimal location based on your target audience. Uncover changes in visit patterns over time, and within a typical week: Look at a particular neighborhood over time in order to capitalize on trends, selecting a site where traffic may be on the rise. Compare visitation patterns by neighborhood to understand the traffic you might expect to see throughout the week at a given site, informing and validating (or invalidating) your projections. Know what day of week experiences the most natural footfall traffic. Understand the trends and what your consumers like: It’s critical to know what consumers are looking for, how they spend their time and what they like now and into the future. Use data-visualization platforms and tools to make insights easy: Data-visualization platforms make complex information and insights easier to understand and ultimately react to. You’ll see companies that adopt data visualization are empowered and can spot emerging trends and speed reaction time. We’ve demonstrated the benefits of using foot traffic data to in a use case that evaluates data to determine whether to build a restaurant in SoHo or the Flatiron neighborhood. For this analysis, we aggregated Census Block Groups into Census Tracts to define and analyze Manhattan’s SoHo and Flatiron neighborhoods. By leveraging the new home and work CBG attributes, we were able to provide a more granular understanding of where consumers live and work to inform business analysis and decisions. This new level of detail allows you to layer census data such as demographics onto your analysis in order to learn more about visitors to categories, chains and venues of interest. Foursquare analyzes consumer behavior based on foot traffic data from millions of Americans that make up our always-on panel. For the purpose of this report, all data is anonymized, aggregated and normalized against U.S. census data to remove any age, gender and geographical bias. Key learnings: Different target audiences with different needs SoHo: Consumers visiting restaurants in SoHo are primarily locals (83%) ages 25-34 (44%). Restaurants in this area attract super shoppers, affluent socialites, health-conscious consumers and a cultured and artsy crowd. Flatiron: People visiting restaurants in Flatiron are primarily locals (86%) ages 25-34 (46%). Restaurants in this area attract health-conscious consumers, corporate professionals, college students and people who crave unique experiences. Visitation patterns and staffing/hours of operation vary Soho: A restaurant in SoHo may struggle to draw consistent foot traffic throughout the earlier part of the day and week: Restaurants in SoHo rely heavily on weekend visits (38% of total weekly visits) in the late afternoons (60% of total daily visits occur after 3 p.m.). Flatiron: A restaurant in Flatiron may struggle to draw consistent foot traffic throughout later day-parts and weekends: Restaurants in Flatiron rely heavily on weekday visits (70% of total weekly visits) in the earlier part of the day (45% of total daily visits occur before 3 p.m.). Competitive differences SoHo: A new restaurant in NYC's SoHo neighborhood will face tough competition with more than 435 restaurants in the area, including over 48 cafes. Top-visited restaurants in this area include Gitano, Prince Street Pizza and Thai Diner. Flatiron: A new restaurant might face less competition in Manhattan's Flatiron neighborhood, with roughly 267 restaurants in the area, including only 25 cafes. Top-visited restaurants in this area include Eataly, Shake Shack and The Smith. While a new restaurant in NYC's Flatiron neighborhood may face less competition compared to a new restaurant in SoHo, location data verifies what it takes to be successful in both neighborhoods. Outcomes and next steps In order to be successful in Flatiron, a restaurant will need to draw a weekday lunch crowd with healthy offerings and a work-friendly setting for professionals; to stand out among nearly double the restaurants in SoHo, a new restaurant should lean into arts and culture with a design-forward setting, and focus on evening and weekend offerings. Read the full report to better understand the role of location data in uncovering trends in consumer behavior, assessing the competitive landscape and unlocking unique opportunities for venue expansion. Keep ReadingShow less Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC ) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with. May 12, 2022 The surprise Wednesday ruling by a panel of three federal appeals court judges allows Texas’ social media law to go into effect — and has led to panicked befuddlement among tech policy experts wondering how platforms could possibly comply, even if they wanted to, and what options the services have for challenging the ruling. The judges ruled 2-1 that the law should be effective while they hear an appeal by two Big Tech trade groups of a district court injunction that initially put the measure on hold. The judges did not immediately publish their reasoning, but the move will force social media companies to face a legal environment that could threaten the core content bans, moderation practices and ranking algorithms that have allowed them to flourish since the 1990s. While HB 20 is in effect, Texas users can sue platforms like Facebook and Twitter if they get “censored” for their viewpoints — a vague premise, designed by conservatives who claim that Big Tech unfairly silences them and down-ranks their content. Until this week, industry observers widely expected the court to uphold a block on the law. In addition to the lower court’s injunction, a different federal court also paused a similar Florida law, finding that it violated the First Amendment in seeking to punish private companies for their views and treatment of content. Those decisions also echoed extensive Supreme Court precedent. But instead, the Fifth Circuit judges appeared to struggle with basic tech concepts during a Monday hearing — including whether Twitter counts as a website — before issuing Wednesday’s startling decision. Matt Schruers, the president of Computer & Communications Industry Association, one of the two groups that challenged the law, said in a statement that “no option is off the table” as far as challenging the ruling and the statute. A lawyer for NetChoice, the other plaintiff, tweeted that it would “absolutely be appealing.” One option for the groups is to seek an en banc appeal — basically, a rehearing by a larger panel of judges in the same court, which is often viewed as the most conservative circuit in the U.S. But the decision on Wednesday may signal that even that larger group would come to a similar conclusion, said David Greene, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF supported the platforms’ suit in a brief. The law is unconstitutional, Greene said. “My hope is that at some point, a court will agree with that, and strike [the law] down,” Greene told Protocol. “But I think that’s only going to happen at the Supreme Court level.” There are two ways the companies could end up in the Supreme Court: They could skip the en banc hearing and start by appealing to the Supreme Court directly, or they could try to bring the case there after another loss in the appeals court. But the majority of the nine justices might not see a reason to jump in at this stage, and could instead hold for a time when the companies are actually facing lawsuits permitted by the Texas statute. Alternatively, experts said, the high court would be more likely to get involved if the 11th Circuit court upholds the existing block on the Florida law and the Supreme Court can resolve the differences between the two approaches. Any decision the Supreme Court makes would depend greatly on the appeals courts’ framing of the issues, Greene said. If the court’s conservative majority wants to approve Texas’ law, however, it would likely have to contend with precedent that five conservative justices signed on to as recently as 2019, which affirmed the First Amendment rights of private actors to control content they carry as they see fit. In the meantime, lawsuits could kick off any minute now as aggrieved users — or the state, which can act on their behalf — claim they’ve been targeted for their viewpoints and seek to force services restore their content and accounts, or even win some sort of prime placement on social media feeds. Such lawsuits were already common, despite failing repeatedly due to sites' Section 230 protections, but if those suits become successful, even the most basic content moderation models could become untenable. Platforms have worried that would, in turn, force a spike of hate speech and dangerous misinformation on services that host user posts, or prompt the return of chronological feeds, which tend to be spammy and unpopular. Medium-sized sites and services that don’t have Meta-sized budgets to handle litigation — but still have the 50 million monthly active users that make them qualify under Texas’ law — would likely struggle in particular with the new legal regime. “It’s so hard to know what the law means and … whether you can change your entire product to try [to] comply with the law,” Greene said. “That’s really hard.” In addition, an early suggestion — that companies could simply pull out of Texas — might be impractical and politically disastrous, said Corbin Barthold, director of Appellate Litigation at the libertarian group TechFreedom, which also supported the challenge to the law. “Can you imagine the loudmouths on Capitol Hill, the hell they would raise?" Barthold said. Companies will probably feel that “the nuclear option is too much." Barthold pointed out that such a move may even fall afoul of the law, which stops companies from complying by isolating users in Texas. Instead, companies might try to have suits moved to other venues, or wait for the issue to get back down to the federal trial court level and argue that Texas’ law impermissibly gets in the way of other states’ commerce. The Texas law contains yet another provision that could throw off companies’ planning: There’s a section that says Texas courts can’t impose any action that federal law prohibits. Sec. 230 currently protects internet content companies from exactly those actions when they pertain to content moderation, which may leave in place only Texas’ disclosure requirements. The law also requires platforms to maintain public policies that delineate what kinds of content are banned — i.e., the terms of service that most apps and platforms already publish — though in practice, would-be plaintiffs could easily claim that even moderation decisions arising from such clear policies are actually viewpoint-based and forbidden under the law. In either case, the ruling appears to have started a tech policy experiment to see if sites with user content can function in a vastly different legal environment from the one they’ve relied on for a quarter-century. Such experiments are already popping up voluntarily on smaller right-wing platforms such as Gettr and Trump’s Truth Social, and Elon Musk has suggested he’s teeing up a similar approach if he gets to control Twitter. The ruling could force that experiment to become ubiquitous, though, and might set up uncertainty that persists until the Supreme Court settles the issues. “There’s certainly a possibility that it could issue an opinion that will just completely fundamentally change how we use social media,” Greene said, “and maybe more fundamentally change how we use the internet.” With additional reporting by Issie Lapowsky. Keep ReadingShow less Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been itching for a case that could rein in Section 230. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images May 12, 2022 Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky ) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing. May 12, 2022 For years, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been openly itching for a case that would give the court an opportunity to rein in Section 230 protections. Now, Texas’ controversial social media “censorship” law could give him an opening. The Texas law prohibits tech platforms with more than 50 million monthly users from moderating content on the basis of “viewpoint,” an ill-defined concept that is ripe for bad-faith interpretation. On Wednesday, a Fifth Circuit appeals court lifted an injunction on the law, which will now take effect in the state. Tech giants including Meta, Google, Snap, Twitter, TikTok and others are now scrambling for a legal remedy. None of those companies would share information with Protocol about what happens next. In all likelihood, they’re still figuring it out themselves. One option on the table, though, would be for the plaintiffs in the case — industry groups NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association — to try their luck with the Supreme Court. In a statement, CCIA president Matt Schruers said, “No option is off the table.” For Thomas, at least, such a case might be welcome. He’s argued in the past that tech platforms are "sufficiently akin" to common carriers and that the court will soon have no choice but to “address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms." Thomas’s public turn against tech came shortly after he hired a clerk who was previously a lawyer for noted Sec. 230 critic Sen. Josh Hawley. "He took the opportunity to rip on Sec. 230 in [a] case that didn’t even present the issue in any way at all. So one that presents the issue, I think he’ll certainly jump on that,” said David Greene, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It’s possible the Supreme Court could take up the case on its shadow docket, without hearing oral arguments — an outcome University of Texas at Austin law professor Steve Vladeck, who is writing a book on the shadow docket, believes is likely. “I just don’t see how social media companies can risk having this law stay on the books,” Vladeck said. “There will be a ton of pressure to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the stay.” Vladeck pointed to a similar shadow docket decision in March when the Court overturned the Fifth Circuit’s block on the Biden administration’s military vaccine mandate. Not everyone shares Vladeck’s certainty. According to Corbin Barthold, internet policy counsel for the think tank TechFreedom, “it is still extraordinarily rare for the Supreme Court to review any aspect of an appeal before that appeal is complete.” While the Fifth Circuit lifted the injunction on the Texas law, suggesting it’s likely to uphold the law on appeal, the appeal itself is still pending. But, Vladeck said, while this has been the case historically, the Supreme Court has become much more active in intervening, particularly in cases that are likely to cause a huge disruption, like this one. “The reality here is that the Fifth Circuit stay is going to create such an immediate impact that it’s going to be hard for the court to think that it's appropriate to wait,” Vladeck said. Even if the case doesn’t make it to the shadow docket, though, it could still wind its way to the Supreme Court; it’ll just take longer. While NetChoice and CCIA fight it out in the Fifth Circuit, the 11th Circuit is also considering a similar social media law in Florida, and Barthold expects that court to be more deliberate in its decision than the Fifth Circuit was. Being more deliberate than the Fifth Circuit, incidentally, won’t be much of a challenge: The court lifted the injunction on the Texas law just two days after hearing oral arguments, without so much as an opinion. During the arguments, the judges seemed perplexed about whether Twitter is even a website. “To just issue an order like this with no opinion on such an unprecedented law,” Barthold said, “it had a flavor of spite to it.” If the 11th and Fifth Circuits split, the Supreme Court might take up the case the old-fashioned way, with oral arguments and all. “Then I would flip my whole analysis and say it is likely, even probable, that the Supreme Court would hear that case,” he said. The question then is, would Thomas’ fellow conservative justices see things the same way he does? That answer is still very unknown. So far, everything Thomas has written on Sec. 230 has only had his name attached. If history serves, his conservative colleagues would be a hard sell. In 2019, all of the conservative justices, including Thomas, joined Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a decision that found public-access channels can’t violate people’s constitutional rights because, though they provide a public forum for speech, they are not themselves state actors. That makes them seem unlikely candidates to rally behind the Texas law, which would also effectively turn tech platforms into common carriers. One thing is certain, though. If the Supreme Court were to take up the case in this way, it would take time, maybe even years. In the meantime, tech platforms would have to find a way to live with the Texas law as it is — or die trying. With additional reporting by Ben Brody. Keep ReadingShow less Janko Roettgers ( @jank0 ) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland. May 12, 2022 The next big thing in VR may be your living room furniture: Meta is releasing a new SDK for its Quest VR headset next week that will make it easier for developers to incorporate real-world surroundings into VR apps and games. The release marks a major step toward bringing mixed reality experiences to Meta’s VR headsets, which has the potential to make VR feel more real. It also foreshadows a world in which headsets make sense of the world around us, blurring the lines between AR and VR. At the same time, Meta’s embrace of mixed reality tells us a lot about the company’s take on immersive computing, which includes long-term commitments to both AR and VR. “A big part of our bet has been that these are two sides of the coin,” said Mark Zuckerberg in an exclusive conversation with Protocol about the company’s mixed reality efforts. Combining the real world with VR The new Quest SDK, which the company officially announced Thursday , gives developers access to something it calls Presence Platform — a set of tools meant to make VR feel more natural. That includes voice-hand interaction as well as a number of features related to video passthrough. The company’s Quest VR headset already includes ways for users to tap into a grayscale live view of their surroundings, captured by the headset’s tracking cameras. Now, developers can use the same video feed and superimpose animated VR objects over it. The headset will also allow people to map their room and tell VR apps where walls, tables, couches and other objects are. Once a room is mapped this way, VR apps can incorporate these real-world surfaces into gameplay and other interactions. First demos of this type of mixed reality show a lot of potential: Resolution Games uses passthrough to let people open up a virtual hole in their living room floor, revealing a virtual lake that they can fish in. The VR drawing app Gravity Sketch makes it possible to place VR objects in the real world, and, for instance, see how a model of a chair would look in your living room. Meta also built its own demo app, called The World Beyond , to demonstrate some of the potential of mixed reality on the Quest. In it, players get to interact with a cute little monster that likes to play fetch. Throw a virtual ball, and it bounces off your real-world walls or furniture. Blast those same walls with a special ray, and they turn into portals to a colorful animated world. “You get that grounding in the real world, but you are in a virtual experience,” said Reality Labs product manager Prabhu Parthasarathy. The company is releasing The World Beyond to the public next week, and will also make the source code available to developers. From tracking to mixed reality and beyond Meta’s path to mixed reality almost began by accident. When the company switched from a PC VR architecture that used external trackers to inside-out tracking on the Quest, it used what are effectively camera sensors to keep track of both VR controllers and the position of the player in the room. “We basically built the sensors just for tracking,” Zuckerberg said. “Then, an engineer had the idea: ‘Let's see if we can turn this on when you start moving outside of your boundary.’” When the first Quest shipped in 2019, the camera sensors were starting to have some double duties. In addition to tracking, they were also used to provide a grayscale view of the outside world that helped Quest owners map out their play space to keep them away from walls and tables. Once in VR, the same borders would come up as a guardian, and moving beyond the guardian resulted in the headset switching from VR to a passthrough video view of the real world. “We originally just made it a safety feature,” Zuckerberg said. Over time, Meta expanded on those safety features, adding the ability to display passthrough video of people, pets and objects entering the play space . Then, the company began to experiment with more directly combining virtual and real objects, which includes mapping of real-world spaces as well as spatial anchors that add persistence to mixed reality. One of the first VR experiences to incorporate some of these technologies has been Horizon Workrooms, the company’s VR collaboration software. The Workrooms app allows people to map their desk, incorporate a real laptop into an avatar-based VR meeting and anchor a virtual whiteboard in real-world surroundings. “We initially started working on it almost as a demo, bringing a lot of technologies together,” Zuckerberg said. Over time, it became clear that Workrooms could be more than just a tech demo, and the company began making it more widely available. Incorporating passthrough video is just a first step toward a more immersive mixed reality future. Just as important will be object recognition; Meta has not revealed any concrete plans for bringing object recognition to future headsets, but it could represent a massive shift for the technology. Right now, a Quest headset only knows that you are sitting in front of a desk if you map and then label that desk. In the future, headsets might be able to recognize both the desk as well as the objects on the desk, to seamlessly incorporate everything into mixed reality experiences. Getting there won’t be easy, though, cautioned Parthasarathy. “Object recognition is a very complex engineering problem,” he said. “I don't expect anybody to have ... this solved anytime soon, including us.” However, the potential upside is massive, he agreed. “Object understanding is going to be a fundamental shift in how we use headsets, whether it's VR or AR,” Parthasarathy said. Betting on VR, even if others don’t At launch, Meta’s take on mixed reality is constrained by the lack of video fidelity of the Quest’s tracking sensors. Developers can make up for some of that by shifting the focus to higher-fidelity VR objects. “When you're in the middle of those experiences, black and white kind of disappears on you,” Parthasarathy said. “We think there's a lot of opportunity to build mixed reality, even on Quest.” Things will only improve with future headsets with better image sensors, including the work-focused Project Cambria device Meta plans to release later this year. However, incorporating mixed reality now is just as much about the future of visual computing, which also includes augmented reality. By allowing developers to overlay virtual objects over the real world, they can get an early taste for the potential of future AR hardware, which also could make Meta’s headsets more appealing to AR purists. “There is a cohort of people who think that AR is going to be a big thing, but who don't yet believe that much in VR,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s pretty exciting to get that whole group of people into the fold.” VR skepticism isn’t just a phenomenon among developers; companies like Magic Leap have decided to focus on AR over VR, even if it means producing devices that are expensive and not consumer-ready. Zuckerberg argued that this approach ignores existing consumer habits. “In the tech industry, we have this bias where we think phones are really critical and TVs are not,” Zuckerberg said. “But the average American spends as much or more time on a TV than a phone.” Ultimately, VR headsets could become a kind of immersive version of the TV set, while AR glasses could become a future mobile device, which is why Meta is investing in both, he said. “Being able to ship VR devices that gain some mainstream adoption and building a developer community allows us to build out the toolchain, a good community and monetization for developers even before [glasses-like] AR devices show up,” Zuckerberg said. Mixed reality tools that allow developers to play in both worlds will enable them to get ready for that future. “That's [the] bet we're making,” he said. “I could be wrong. But so far, the data suggests that VR is going to be quite important. So I'm feeling pretty good about the path that we're on.” Keep ReadingShow less

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  • When was mmhmm founded?

    mmhmm was founded in 2020.

  • Where is mmhmm's headquarters?

    mmhmm's headquarters is located at 548 Market St, San Francisco.

  • What is mmhmm's latest funding round?

    mmhmm's latest funding round is Series B.

  • How much did mmhmm raise?

    mmhmm raised a total of $130.5M.

  • Who are the investors of mmhmm?

    Investors of mmhmm include Sequoia Capital, SoftBank Group, All Turtles, Goldman Sachs, Isaac Lee and 33 more.

  • Who are mmhmm's competitors?

    Competitors of mmhmm include Loom and 1 more.

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Droplr

Droplr is an online file-sharing application that provides simple photo and text sharing services. Users can customize their screens; embed links, movies, and more; optimize retina shots; preview PDFs; annotate screenshots; integrate workflow, and more.

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Presono

Presono is an offline end-to-end smart presentation software, helping users easily create presentations, centralize their files, and analyze the potential interest of their target audience.

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Pitch

Pitch is a collaborative presentation software for modern teams with a focus on real-time collaboration, smart workflows, and design features. Pitch offers both free and paid plans for teams of all sizes.

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Beautiful.AI

Beautiful.AI is a San Francisco, CA-based presentation tool to create visual documents. Per the company, they use AI to create their presentation tools.

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OpenReel

OpenReel utilizes proprietary technology to create custom HD video remotely.

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StoryVine

StoryVine provides a platform that allows users to create on-brand, professional-quality videos. The content video, images and text is captured using a video-capture app, which is currently available for iOS devices.

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