Monday, 10 December, 2018

Facebook Launches A Camera For Your Home, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes  08 Oct 2018- 15:55
Troy Mann | 09 October, 2018, 05:11

The Facebook Portal is an Alexa-powered smart display which has a focus on video chats.

It also has privacy features-you can disable the camera and microphone with a tap, just like Amazon's Echo devices let you-and it comes with an integrated camera cover, which is something we actually recommend.

As Facebook points out on the official Portal website, "Alexa features and functionality may differ slightly on Portal and Amazon devices".

"Both models are created to help you feel closer to the important people in your life and make video chats feel less like a call, and more like you're actually in the same room", Facebook said in a blog post.

The larger Portal+ has a 15.6-inch, 1920x1080 display that can be oriented vertically or horizontally. The devices also advertise the ability to enhance the voice of whoever is talking, regardless of where they move, while minimizing background noise.

I'm not saying we should all be paranoid about our data but it's a good idea to think about who we are handing it over to, and Facebook has ran out of strikes on this one.

Portal integrates Amazon's Alexa voice assistant to handle search queries, and Amazon collects audio files of requests made to Alexa. For those concerned about privacy, both Portals have a button that mutes their mics, as well as a physical cover for the camera. That means Portal users can call other Portal users, as well as those with Facebook Messenger installed on their smartphones and tablets.

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For now, the Portal and the Portal+ will be available only in the US.

However, the second version of Portal - called Portal Plus - is a whole different beast. The company also incorporated its Spark AR platform into each device so users can video chat with custom sound and visual effects (a Snapchat-esque feature dubbed Story Time).

Facebook is marketing the device, called Portal, as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to fuss with positioning and other controls. Portal represents a new challenge because hardware is hard to tweak in the wild.

Facebook also says that the AI features Smart Camera and Smart Sound work locally, and therefore do not send any data back to the social network. Both devices have a four-mic array that's created to pick up your voice no matter where you are in the room.

Facebook is rolling out its first-ever tech gadget - and it's every bit as creepy as you'd expect.

This uses the Portal's Smart camera feature to transform your face and voice into those of the story's characters, meaning you can still give your kids (or your pets) un-rivaled bedtime tales no matter how far away you are. If you want to try and get oen for yourself anyway, with some importing methods, they'll cost $199 (£152) and $349 (£268) respectively. The devices understand voice commands as well, allowing users to say "Hey Portal" before asking it to call one of their contacts. You can also receive $100 United States dollars off any two devices - this means a bundle of two Portal devices will be priced at $298 USD, so you can share the experience right out of the box.

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