Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Facebook launches AI video-calling Portal to raise privacy concerns

Facebook launches AI video-calling Portal to raise privacy concerns

Even though Facebook is one of the world's biggest software companies, it never launched any tech devices.

The device now offered in two sizes 10 Inches and 15.6 Inches Screen and can connect with Facebook Messenger enabling users on messengers on messengers as well. While Portal+ has a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display. Like other voice-enabled devices, Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after you say, "Hey Portal".

Facebook says it does not record, listen to, view or otherwise analyse the content of calls on its servers, and the data involved is encrypted.

The company worked with a USA film director to make the camera movements feel natural, said Mr Nick Fell, marketing director for the Portal team. There is a $50 rebate applicable on both devices as a one-time offer for the initial buyers who place their orders before November 12, which is also when the device will start to ship.

This is Facebook's first dip in the hardware arena but, on paper, it seems to have more misses than hits.

While many users are skeptical about the new device, many aspiring artists, musicians, and entertainers stated that they believe the camera could have value and allow them to perform hands-free for their Facebook live audiences.

Facebook's Portal contains a front-facing video camera and microphones for conferencing. Reality effects like adding masks while chatting are also deemed necessary to improve the experience of the video call.

Recall, Google is preparing a presentation of a miniature smartphone.

"What we've seen is that people are getting a bit of screen fatigue and instead are looking for the technology industry to be more thoughtful about how their existing screens might work with other devices in their home, as opposed to putting another screen in another room".

While some reports suggest that the Facebook video chat portal had been held back following the data breach scandal, Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's head of VR and AR hardware, told Telegraph otherwise. Also the Portal cameras don't use facial recognition to identify who you are.

Since Facebook uses Amazon's Alexa voice assistant to power Portal, it will be hard to catch up to Amazon's smart-home saturation.

The Portal will even have its very own command call, triggered by saying "Hey Portal." similar to that of Amazon and Google. It has pre-loaded apps that allow joint-enjoyment of music and shows from the likes of Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy.

Another cool feature is Story Time, which has five interactive storybooks you can read.

Anyway, Portals will start shipping in the USA next month to anyone fearless enough to take the plunge. You can purchase a Portal for $199 or a Portal+ for $349.

Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the USA - from Facebook, as well as Amazon and Best Buy - and will begin shipping in November.

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