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Facebook launches Portal and Portal

12 October, 2018, 05:12 | Author: Tara Roberts
  • Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

In a press release Facebook said, "Today, we're excited to announce Portal and Portal+, two new video communication devices for the home that dramatically change the way we keep in touch". Portal comes in two sizes, a 10-inch screen with costs $199 and a 15-inch version which costs $349. Portal's display is fixed in landscape mode, but Portal+'s screen can pivot between portrait and landscape modes. In a blog post, Facebook touted the Portal devices as being created with privacy and security in mind: calls are encrypted, there's no facial recognition, users can disable the camera and microphone are among the privacy measures Facebook listed.

"Privacy is very, very, very important", said Rafa Camargo, vice president of Portal on Monday, "We really made a conscious choice of not recording, so you have peace of mind". And to start the call, all it takes is: "Hey Portal".

Also, while the Portal leverages its video screen to allow users to apply augmented reality emojis and other AR features to their video calls, the screen doesn't do much more than that. Facebook said the Portal will even be able to communicate with those who might not have the speaker installed at their end. "Portal feels less like a video call and more like you're in the same room - even when you're miles apart".

Like Alexa, you can delete the Portal's voice history via the Facebook Activity Log.

There were 17 billion video calls on Messenger in 2017, double the number in 2016, according to official data. It also allows you quickly make calls with folks you're connected with on Facebook Messenger.

Virgin Galactic to be in space 'in weeks,' owner Branson says
After that, it will be closer to its goal of offering commercial spaceflight to the 600 patrons who have paid $250,000 for a ride. Branson was referring to the Virgin Galactic spaceship being developed by the company for future commercial trips into space.

The Portal is available for preorders and will be available in November. The Amazon Silk browser offers access to Google's YouTube, which was removed from the original Show, due to a corporate spat between Amazon and Google.

Facebook says it would not store Portal video on its data centers.

The company also added that Portal and Portal+ comes with a camera cover so users can easily block the camera's lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications.

When people already suspect that Facebook is spying on them, it is a bridge too far to ask them to plant a literal Facebook listening device in their homes. Facebook has partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy - others will come soon. But the tech is also used for a selection of stories, which a parent can read from afar while relevant visual effects appear.

This week will see three new ones in the US: Facebook just unveiled the Portal, Amazon opened pre-orders for the second generation Echo Show, and Google is (at this writing) hours away from unveiling the Google Home Hub. The firm estimated that device makers shipped almost 12 million smart speakers in Q2 2018, about 8 million more than a year ago.

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