Facebook Announces a Camera for Your House. Didn’t They Just Get Hacked?


Privacy is a big issue with Facebook especially with recent developments which is why the company is putting a lot of emphasis on it. Users can completely disable the camera and microphone on the Portal and Portal+ with a single tap.

"For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers".

Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after a user says: "Hey Portal", just like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. There's also a new "Story Time" AR feature for video calls with kids.

Powered by AI, Portal's Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology take all of the guesswork out of video calling, letting you enjoy a more convenient, hands-free experience.

Amazon and Google have a new smart display competitor to contend with.

We first heard rumors that Facebook would make a foray into smart speaker hardware a few months ago, well before the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light.

The move also marks Facebook's first foray into the hardware space outwith Oculus - the VR headset company it snapped up in 2014. In addition, a number of Portal's features are opt-in, and there is no video recording feature. Think of it as a personal cinematographer: A 12-megapixel camera - equivalent to the one in most phones - identifies the shape of people within its 140-degree field of view, and pans and zooms to make sure they're always in the frame.

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Since Echo's release almost four years ago, both Google and Apple have followed Amazon in releasing smart speakers designed for use with their other digital services - some of them, at least. That means you can easily start a video call within Facebook Messenger, or you can watch the various content on Facebook's own video streaming service, Facebook Watch.

But didn't Facebook just get hacked? The former features a 10.1-inch screen with WXGA resolution and 10W speakers, while the latter features a 15.6-inch Full HD display with 20W speakers and a 4-inch bass woofer.

Facebook will offer Portal in two sizes - a $199 model with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 "Plus" version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations. The cameras and the microphones in these two devices can be disabled with a switch.

Portal is Facebook's answer to the Amazon Echo Show.

When you're not video chatting, you can use Portal to watch shows on Facebook Watch or The Food Network, or to stream music from Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio.

Facebook has just announced that its long-awaited video chat devices Portal and Portal+ are now available to preorder in the USA, with shipping due to commence in November. And there's a plastic privacy shield you can keep over the camera, though it looks like an afterthought.