Facebook has confirmed reports that it is working on an AI voice assistant similar to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant for its Portal and Oculus products.
Reuters quotes a Facebook spokesperson saying “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.”
CNBC reports that the project has been in the works since early 2018 around the time the company shut down its M personal assistant app it introduced in 2015.
The team reportedly working on the assistant is based out of Redmond, Washington under the direction of the GM of Facebook Reality Labs and Director of AR/VR, Ira Snyder, whose LinkedIn profile also lists him as director of Facebook Assistant — potentially the name or working title of the product.
Facebook is currently making moves into many varied markets, away from being a solely social media-focused company.
It has repeatedly come under fire for its misuse of user’s data and recently admitted to unintentionally uploading 1.5 million people’s email contacts without their consent as part of an email verification process.
This latest news coupled with concerns regarding the Portal camera collecting user information to deliver targeted ads, it’s not likely that consumers will welcome a smart assistant recording their voice commands.