Facebook Launches AI-Powered Video Calling Devices
Facebook Launches AI-Powered Video Calling Devices
Facebook launches Portal and Portal+ video call devices
12 October, 2018, 05:12
Amazon will be first to stores, with the revamped and larger Echo unit available Thursday, while Google's Home Hub, an extension of the Home speaker line, will be released on October 22.
The camera on the Portal is also backed by smart software that enables it to follow users as they move around in their homes, thereby ensuring the user is always in focus.
The new devices allow calling Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal. Facebook sends voice commands to its servers after users say "Hey Portal" to wake up the device, and that voice history can be deleted from a Facebook Activity Log. This version also has a slightly larger display (15 inches compared to Portal's 10).
Facebook's Portal and Portal+ will be rolling out in the United States from Facebook, Amazon, and Best Buy, and will begin shipping in November.
Facebook says that the device can't record video tracking function is only needed for proper construction of the frame, and processes the voice requests the device itself, not the servers of the social network. During calls, it can also play music on Spotify and tell stories via AR effects app, Story Time.
The camera is created to crop users into the frame and can detect when there are multiple people in the room and frame accordingly. Morerecently, Facebook revealed that hackers managed to pierce its security to break into 50 million accounts. Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify the users. However, the waiting is now over since FacebookPortal is now available for purchase.
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Facebook'sPortal shares some of the traits of smart speakers like "Google Home" and Amazon's "Echo" with its voice activated assistant, "Alexa".
While the device is said to be a way of streamlining and improving the many video calls taking place on the Facebook Messenger platform, there are some people who believe its release is somewhat ill-timed.
The Portal is most akin to Amazon's Echo Show device in that it comes with a screen. Credit Facebook for making its video chat devices less creepy than they could have been, but that doesn't make them creepy-free.
Portal will give users multiple ways to lock and turn off the various aspects of the device. It will also show photos and videos from the user's Facebook library.
In terms of privacy, Facebook claims the calls are encrypted and that Facebook does not listen in or save a copy of them. Portal's launch comes just a couple of weeks after a second security incident at the company, this time involving the theft of access tokens.
Facebook, of course, knows only too well that such concerns could affect its business, not to mention its share price, as shown by the events following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw Zuckerberg himself attending and being grilled by USA senators in lengthy congressional hearings.
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