Facebook launches Portal home for video calls, could be a privacy hazard

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Facebook has provided more details about its push into the increasingly crowded smart speaker market by unveiling two new devices called the Portal and Portal+.

The company revealed the pair, Portal and Portal+, on its website yesterday along with a video showcasing the product's aim, where people were sent the device and asked to try it out.

Facebook has launched a couple of new smart devices which enable AI-powered video calling in your home.

They also allow for sharing music with Spotify Premium, Pandora and iHeartRadio as well as telling stories with some augmented reality effects.

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

Facebook Portal has a screen diagonal of 10.1 inches and Portal + has a screen diagonal of 15.6 inch.

They said Portal is available at Amazon and Best Buy stores in addition to Facebook.com and starts shipping to US customers in early November.

Social media giant Facebook has unveiled two new video communication devices for the home in an attempt to dramatically change the way people keep in touch.

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"This is going to gain [Facebook] not only a place in the smart home, but also data they may not have been able to collect before or understand before", ABI Research analyst Jonathan Collins said. They also support group calls of up to seven people at the same time.

Facebook says it would not store Portal video on its data centers.

When you are not using the video calling feature, Portal's Superframe can display your favorite photos and videos and important notifications like birthday reminders, anniversaries to make you feel a little more connected to your closest family and friends.

Bosworth however noted that they do not intend to stop with Portal, promising to "invest very heavily, not just hardware through Oculus but also through Facebook", Bosworth said. Rival smart speakers with screens lack a video-chatting app that is as popular. Recently, Facebook acknowledged that hackers may have broken through security measures to access millions of accounts.

Facebook is billing the device as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to focus on camera positioning and other controls. Above you can see the hardware camera cover in action and you can disable the camera and mic in software with a single tap.

And it also comes bundled with Amazon's voice interface "Alexa", enabling users to shop or control household appliances.

The Portal uses an array of four far-field microphones that records user's conversations and picks up voice commands and a 12MP wide-angle for video calls.

We should mention that another reason why people don't want to have Facebook Portal in their homes is because of the recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal that caused Facebook's stocks and user base to plummet.

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