Facebook Unveils Smart Speaker for Messenger video calls with Alexa

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Facebook has unveiled two smart speakers equipped with screens and cameras, which have been designed for making video calls using its Messenger service.

New from Facebook, Portal and the larger Portal+ look like smart speakers with video displays; at first glance, they might be mistaken for Amazon's Echo Show. During calls, it can also play music on Spotify or videos from Facebook Watch, as well as tell children stories via augmented effects app Story Time.

Portal's camera, which uses artificial intelligence to recognise body shapes, is a major marketing point, offering users the convenience of staying in the frame without having to adjust the device.

Users can choose either a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display or 15-inch 1920 x 1080 display, both with as little of the intelligent hardware visible as possible, to give the feeling of being in the same room as loved ones.

At current Portal and Portal+ are available for pre-order in the USA at $199 and $349. To manage Portal access within the home, users can set a four- to 12-digit passcode to keep the screen locked and changing the passcode would require the Facebook password. Portal devices also support group calls of up to seven people at the same time.

The Portal will even have its very own command call, triggered by saying "Hey Portal." similar to that of Amazon and Google. However, the main objective of Portal - video calling in Facebook Messenger. It is clear that the company has noted people's concerns when it comes to the latter, as both sizes of Portal come with buttons that disable the microphones and cameras.

Melania Trump pays poignant visit to slave fortress in Ghana
The palace is also home to "Obama Hall", dubbed such after a visit from then-President Barack Obama in 2009. Trump arrived at the castle after a two-and-a-half hour drive over bumpy roads from the capital, Accra.

But not everybody thinks it's a good idea after Facebook admitted a security breach exposed personal information of 50 million users.

During a conversation, the integrated camera can automatically zoom out to include a second person or be instructed to follow a certain individual as he walks around. However, the social network may have announced the Amazon Echo Show challenger at a bad time.

Mark Zuckerberg noticed that everyone is talking about how Facebook Portal is eavesdropping on their conversations and he decided to make the following statement: "Facebook Portal doesn't listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls".

Facebook said the two speakers are powered by AI as well as smart camera and sound technology that let users have a better, more convenience and hands-free experience.

The marketing opportunities for Facebook's Portal are unclear, given that the devices now don't have ads, but the company notes that advertisers can reach Portal users with ad inserts in third-party video programming, per Facebook's Portal privacy page. "When you can't be there, Portal and Portal+ let you feel there", explains company in a press statement. Is marrying a smart speaker with a video capability you already possess with your laptop, desktop or tablet/phone really that useful?

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