Facebook’s Newest Gadget After Data Breaches Takes Video Inside the Home

Facebook could put a camera in your home with video calling Portal device

Facebook introduces Portal and Portal+ with prices starting at $199

The microphone and camera can also be turned off, and there's no way to record video. The Portal sits on a shelf or kitchen counter and lets your voice do the dialing. This means the ability to do voice or video calls over Facebook Messenger and Facebook Watch integration. Both models come with screens and cameras, as Facebook wants customers to use them for video calls. One of the top features of the Portal and Portal+ is their smart camera - or may be some will find it creepy - that will follow people around in a room while they are on a video call. You can wander around the room, do chores, Jazzercise, play with the kids or whatever.

Video chatting is an important feature that most smart displays have. You can use the AR effects with a feature called Story Time to "bring stories to life with custom sound effects and visuals".

The Portal also has a few other tricks.

If you're still reading, let me run down what each speaker has.

Facebook Inc on Monday released a smart speaker created to ease video calls, but the company's history of privacy mishaps and the device's price and limited functionality could slow it from taking on market leaders Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google.

Portal integrates Amazon's Alexa voice assistant to handle search queries, and Amazon collects audio files of requests made to Alexa. The Portal+, on the other hand, has a 15-inch Full HD display that actually pivots, just in case you want to do stuff in portrait mode.

The Portal isn't a fully functional computer. All of this is pretty basic for a smart display, and devices like Amazon's Echo Show have been offering similar features for ages.

Users will have access to services such as Spotify Premium, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Facebook Watch, Food Network, and Newsy at launch, with more services being added later.

It got delayed after Facebook found itself in the privacy scandal earlier this year, but finally Facebook's smart video calling device is here.

Facebook has unveiled the company's first ever hardware product - a video calling device called Portal. Its primary objective is to make video calls - the thing any smartphone, tablet, or computer can do - but Amazon Alexa is built-in so it can be your assistant, too. The devices don't have facial recognition and do not identify who is using the device as well.

Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after a user says: "Hey Portal", just like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. There is also a one-touch option to completely disable the camera and mute the microphone.

Facebook is hardly alone in pushing the boundaries of privacy in our homes. Cameras are Silicon Valley's next frontier, and it's trying to persuade us to install them as video-chat devices and security systems.

Portal will cost $199 while Portal Plus will cost $349.

"The first thing consumers are going to wonder is 'how much sensitive data is this collecting about me?'" said John Breyault, vice president of public policy of telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group that has received donations from Facebook and other tech companies.

Facebook's previous hardware, including its Oculus virtual reality headset and a phone developed with HTC, gained little adoption. "We were very focused on building in privacy from the ground up", Camargo says. We'll see if people accept the friend request.

'Shocked' Packers kicker trashes cleats, reacts after ugly five-miss performance
Intel unveils 9th generation CPU, calls it "best gaming processor"