Facebook opens hardware lab, in a sign of broader ambitions

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

California — Facebook is opening a new hardware lab as part of its broader ambitions to connect people through smart gadgets, virtual-reality headsets and high-flying drones that deliver internet signals.

Although Facebook built its fortune on the internet, it sees hardware as an important part in helping people connect.

And just as Google pursues "moonshot" projects like self-driving cars, Facebook's new facility demonstrates that leading tech companies are rarely content to just keep making the same thing.

The lab on Facebook's Silicon Valley campus is dubbed Area 404, an inside joke playing off the "error 404" message that internet users see when they try to visit a web page that can't be found. Facebook says its engineers had long talked about wanting such a workspace, but it didn't exist until now.

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