Facebook on Monday launched a range of AI-powered smart speakers which will make video calling easier bringing a strategic revolution for the social network giant who is looking forward to having its share of the smart speaker market that is currently dominated by Amazon and Google.
Facebook’s vice president of consumer hardware Andrew Bosworth called it a big shift for the company.
While talking on the launching ceremony, he said that the company had been seeing a rise of video calling, on both Messenger and WhatsApp which is why they decided to bring AI-powered smart speakers to make this experience worthy.
The device will be available for pre-order in the United States from Monday. It will allow the users to make video calls at home without having to stand in front of the screen or hold a phone in their hand.
This product is most likely to raise privacy issues as in this way Facebook is going to have access to the people’s homes. The company has suffered several major data breaches this year affecting tens of millions of user accounts.
“we realized that if we want to continue to advance our mission, the hardware we’re dealing with is not enough and we found the need to build our own hardware to accomplish that mission,” Bosworth said.
The portal comes in two sizes, a 10-inch screen which retails at $199 and a 15-inch version priced at $349. It’s a hand fee portal, the user will just to say ‘Hey Portal to start the call.
This portal has been designed in a way that it can also play music on Spotify or videos from Facebook Watch during the calls.
It also comes bundled with Amazon’s voice interface “Alexa”, which would enable the users to shop or control household appliances.
During the video calling, the integrated camera can automatically zoom out to include a second person, follow the person as they walk around. It will also have the ability to pick out their voice over background noise.
Facebook has assured in a statement that the risk of hacking can be lower in this way as it relies on an actual device rather than the cloud.