Facebook Launches A Camera For Your Home, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Facebook’s new Portal communications device

Facebook’s new Portal communications device

Facebook today jumped into smart devices with the launch of the Portal and Portal+ displays. The first is simply called Portal and features a 10-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800.

Portal also has Alexa built-in, so you can use it just like an Echo, including controlling your compatible smart home accessories with it.

Facebook is now accepting pre-orders for the new devices and will be shipping them next month.

In addition to their price and size differences, the Portal+ has a more powerful speaker that includes two tweeters with high-range frequency and a single, four-inch bass speaker for richer sound. Facebook says it and your friends can't look into your house anytime they want: Video chats have to be explicitly accepted before the camera cuts on. 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.

For those not jazzed about giving Facebook that much access, maybe don't buy the Portal.

The camera can be blocked by a cover and the device has a button for disabling both the lens and the microphone.

Portal is also linked with Facebook, and is able to provide birthday reminders, notify you when close friends are available to connect, and display your photos and videos.

Like Alexa, you can delete the Portal's voice history via the Facebook Activity Log. They also come with a camera cover so that one can easily cover the camera when not in use. You can't browse Facebook or Instagram on it, or even visit the web (you also can't watch video content on it via Youtube). "Interestingly, Facebook has included Amazon Alexa software in their device, allowing users to ask questions such as" What's the weather?" or "How are my teams doing?"

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

"Frankly if we don´t build the hardware, I do have concerns", Bosworth admitted, saying it was crucial to put "people first" whether delivering a platform for virtual reality or augmented reality.

That said, Facebook says Portal does not collect any information about people's home, listening only for voice commands.

Both speakers feature large displays and cameras to facilitate video calling and other communication functionality.

Not a lot of us trust Facebook.

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

The Portal comes in two configurations: A $US200 ($283) model with a 10.1-inch 720p display, and the pricier $US350 ($496) Portal+, which features a larger 15.6-inch 1080p display that can rotate between portrait and landscape view. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 74 percent of Facebook members in the USA have in the previous year taken a break, deleted the app from their phone or adjusted their privacy settings.

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.

The social media giant claims that it won't "listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal calls", and that all calls are encrypted for heightened security.

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