In a bid to take on Amazon Alexa or Google Home, Facebook is working on a voice-based assistant for its Portal video chat service and other future projects. According to a report in CNBC on Wednesday, the social network is “unclear how exactly Facebook envisions people using the assistant”.
Facebook’s AI-enabled Portal video chat service currently uses Amazon’s Alexa. “We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
Facebook last year shut down a chat-based assistant called “M” in its messaging app. According to the report, Ira Snyder, a general manager at Facebook Reality Labs, is working on the voice-assistant project. Facebook Portal and Portal+ video chat speakers come with Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology. Portal offers hands-free voice control. You can start a video call simply by saying ‘Hey Portal’ and noting who you’d like to call.