Hi-Tech

Facebook announces Portal, Portal

Facebook announces Portal, Portal

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are investigating how Cambridge Analytica obtained data on as many as 87 million Facebook users without their consent during the 2016 USA election.

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

Facebook is billing the device as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to focus on camera positioning and other controls.

How about you? Would you allow Facebook's new device into the privacy of your home? Let us know if Portal excites you as much as it excited us! Portal comes in two versions: a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display (about the same size as an iPad) and Portal+, a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.

Portal has two models, a 10-inch unit and a 15-inch one, which can be used easily because it doesn't have to be held. Facebook asserts that the smart camera and smart sound in the devices deliver an immersive and "more convenient, hands-free experience".

Both devices, the smaller Portal and the larger Portal+, use artificial intelligence to control the 140 degree camera, zooming in on a user's face or following them walking around the room as they talk. Smart Sound minimizes background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move.

Users can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal. It also allows you quickly make calls with folks you're connected with on Facebook Messenger. Plus, you can have immersive group conversations with up to seven people (eight including Alexa) to make it feel like old times.




Facebook today jumped into smart devices with the launch of the Portal and Portal+ displays. Privacy expert Ann Cavoukian, a former Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario that coined the term "Privacy by design" says on paper, Facebook's security claims look good, but urges marketers who want to leverage the technology to "trust, but verify". They also come with a sliding camera cover, as well as a dedicated button to shut off the microphone and camera. The Portal+ also has a 1080p screen while its smaller counterpart sports the standard 720p.

"Facebook Portal is an interesting move in that it exclusively focuses on being a communication tool - essentially a video phone - and isn't linked to Facebook or Instagram accounts", Stead said.

Facebook says it does not record, listen to, view or otherwise analyse the content of calls on its servers, and the data involved is encrypted. "When you can't be there, Portal and Portal+ let you feel there", Facebook said in its statement.

There were 17 billion video calls on Messenger past year, double the number in 2016.

To start a call, all one has to do is say: "Hey Portal". You can also use Amazon Prime music streaming on the device. And Facebook? If you married those concerns together, you'd get Portal.

Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the United States - from Facebook, as well as Amazon and Best Buy - and will begin shipping in November.

Reports indicate that it is unlikely that Portal becomes the next Alexa; however, if the device is widely successful like Amazon's, the company might be able to take the breath of fresh air it's been craving.