Google takes on Amazon and Facebook with connected video device

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 11, 2018

The company, which saw its trust ranking collapse in the 2018 FutureBrand Index, was at pains to explain the security features in its announcement for the device which is yet to have an Australian release date. It costs 1,699 yuan (US$250), has a 8-inch screen, and also lets users make video calls and watch videos on iQiyi... which is unusual, because iQiyi is owned by Baidu, but JD.com is owned by Tencent - you'd think they'd use Tencent Video instead. "When you can't be there, Portal and Portal+ let you feel there", explains company in a press statement. The Facebook Portal and Portal+ products will be available in November. However, if you bundle two Portal models together, you can save $100, and get the pair for just $298. Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify who you are. Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after you say, "Hey Portal". Julia Stead, vice president of marketing at analytics provider Invoca, says the product release shows that "the lines continue to blur between traditional voice-based platforms (landlines, mobile phones) and the vast array of options today, from digital video communication (FaceTime, Skype) to AI-powered voice bots (Alexa, Google Home, in-car voice assistants)".

In a bid to carve out its share of the smart home devices industry, Facebook has announced the Portal and Portal+.

The Portal+ has a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels that can be oriented vertically or horizontally.

Facebook's Portal and Portal+ will be rolling out in the United States from Facebook, Amazon, and Best Buy, and will begin shipping in November. Portal plays your favorite music, and powerful speakers will fill your room with rich, hi-fi sound 2 Full-Range Drivers 10w Rich Sound. It also allows you quickly make calls with folks you're connected with on Facebook Messenger.

Facebook fans and foes wondered online if the social network should be trusted as the conduit for a device that serves as an in-home video calling system whjich can follow users as they move around a room. New Atlas reports that a caller, or receiver, need not own a Portal device in order to communicate with one, so long as they have another device like a smartphone that works with Facebook Messenger.

Portal was designed as a screen and camera gadget to make video calling more intuitive and immersive by using Artificial Intelligence and motion sensors to detect movement during video calls. The device also comes with built-in Alexa services.

Bad Time For Facebook Portal?

Some have called Portal "the worst tech device of the year".

As privacy and Security are a primary concern of every individual, the Portal and Portal+ come with a camera cover, which can be used to block the camera lens.

Both devices display photos and notifications from Facebook and videos from Food Network, but offer only a few other applications.

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