Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Facebook launches AI video-calling Portal to raise privacy concerns

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices Facebook launches Portal and Portal+ video call devices
Sherri Watson | 11 October, 2018, 23:32

Powered by AI, the smart camera on the Portal devices stays with the action and automatically pans and zooms to keep everyone in view when moving around.

To help convince users the new products will be secure, Facebook included a kill switch for the front-facing camera, encryption of video calls, and the most foolproof privacy shield known to humankind: a lens cap. Smart Sound minimizes background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move.

You can carry Portal with you to places so that there is this way to remotely accompany people you love to spend your time with! However, it will not be possible to record.

Smart screens also feature augmented reality. To initiate the machine, you need to say, "Hey Portal" and it will start.

When not up and busy with video calls, Portal will scroll through Facebook photos.

On the heels of last week's new Nearby Friends mapping feature announcement, Facebook revealed that they're following the leads of other tech giants such as Google and Snapchat and expanding into the hardware market with the announcement of their new Facebook video camera. Portal plays your favorite music, and powerful speakers will fill your room with rich, hi-fi sound 2 Full-Range Drivers 10w Rich Sound. The Portal will also support voice command, similar to home speakers such as Amazon's Echo or Google Home.

Portal and Portal+ are now available for pre-order for $199 and $349 respectively, with shipping scheduled for November. Facebook says it will also encrypt all video calls, and store all of its AI learning locally on the individual device, not on Facebook's servers. The Portal Plus costs $349 and a 1080p screen that rotates into either portrait or landscape mode with a gentle push.

Like Alexa, you can delete the Portal's voice history via the Facebook Activity Log. 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.

Facebook expects to stand apart on the market because of Portal's touchscreen and the 400 million people who call through its Messenger service each month worldwide.

Unsurprisingly Facebook installs a version of Messenger on the Portal devices and you can converse freely with other Messenger users whatever platform they might be on.

Facebook's new devices will come in direct competition with Amazon's Echo speaker, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, as consumers' use of voice services is on the rise. 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. "We've seen a rise of video calling, on both Messenger and WhatsApp - it has been a tremendous trend." . Facebook will be faced with the steep obstacle of once again having to build consumer trust if they want its Portal line to be successful and compete with industry leaders.