Facebook launches Portal, Portal

Facebook launches Portal, Portal

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.

"Hey Portal" is the magic phrase you'll want to use to initiate Facebook Messenger video calls, and yes, you can talk to your friends even if they use the app on their phones.

Called Portal, the tablet-like device with a 10-inch screen allows users to make video calls with their voice over Facebook's Messenger app.

But the launch of a product putting a camera into homes is likely to raise privacy issues for the social media giant, which has suffered several data breaches this year involving tens of millions of user accounts.

London- Facebook on Monday launched a range of AI-powered video-calling devices, a strategic revolution for the social network giant which is aiming for a slice of the smart speaker market that is now dominated by Amazon and Google. With the first, Portal users can expect the built-in camera to automatically zoom and pan to make sure that everyone is in the shot.

Portal lets users place Facebook's augmented reality camera effects, like those found in Instagram, over their faces during video calls.

Video calls conducted on a Portal are encrypted, while AI technology runs locally on the devices, not Facebook servers.

It also has privacy features-you can disable the camera and microphone with a tap, just like Amazon's Echo devices let you-and it comes with an integrated camera cover, which is something we actually recommend.

But at a time when CEO Zuckerberg's privacy and security decisions are a matter of congressional inquiry, how many people will trust one in their living room?

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Facebook servers are only contacted when you say "Hey Portal". Tech Crunch is reporting that Facebook is also planning to bring Google Assistant support to the platform soon as well.

Portal home comes for $199 (approximately Dh730) and Portal+ will cost $349 (approximately Dh1,281). Because the screen pivots, you can have chats in both landscape and portrait mode, unlike the vanilla Facebook Portal which is created to sit in landscape mode only.

Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the United States and will begin shipping in November. The regular Port has a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, and looks like any other random smart display.

We've reached out to Facebook to find out about worldwide availability and will update with any new information.

Not too long ago the Cambridge Analytica scandal popped up, as you well remember I'm sure.

It remains to be seen if Portal can be a commercial success, because Facebook has had trouble with hardware for years. "Our goal is to make you feel present in the same space as the person on the other end", said Rafa Camargo, the Facebook vice-president overseeing Portal.

The idea behind both devices is to improve the quality of video calls, so the camera and microphone are able to adjust and optimise what they're doing based on what's going on around you. Since then, people have become hyper-aware of how much their private information is available not just to Facebook, but to ...

But Facebook has moved to quickly allay security fears, saying that by keeping the processes on the actual device rather than in the cloud, the risk of hacking is lower than with a smartphone or computer.

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