Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

Facebook working on voice assistant to rival Amazon's Alexa

Facebook is working on a rival to Amazon's Alexa Facebook working on voice assistant to rival Amazon's Alexa
Emmett Howard | 18 April, 2019, 22:56

According to a report by CNBC, Facebook is allegedly working behind the scenes on a voice assistant.

The social network would face stiff competition from tech giants that already have voice assistants, like Amazon, Google and Apple. The two informed CNBC that Facebook is in touch with several vendors in the smart speaker supply ecosystem and the effort is being headed by Ira Snyder, the head of the company's AR/VR division.

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Undeterred by the overwhelming ambivalence to Samsung's Bixby and Microsoft's Cortana, the internal team behind Oculus has been working on an AI assistant for over a year now, and we're struggling to work out exactly who they think is going to use it.

"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 told PCMag in an email. Users can say "Hey Portal" to initiate very simple commands, but the device also comes equipped with Amazon's Alexa assistant to handle more complex tasks. "M", Facebook's text-based smart assistant was born in 2015 to improve conversations in Messengers and help you with recommendations for things like what to eat or what place to visit. Facebook Portal and Portal+ video chat speakers come with Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology. Facebook described the project as an experiment and that it had learned a lot.

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