After Cambridge Analytica, Facebook suspends 400 apps over data concerns

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Some other selling points: There are some augmented-reality features and animated skins available for an interactive stories mode, which seems fun if you're talking to your kids from far away.

Users can also make calls to their Facebook and Messenger friends, even if the other person doesn't own a Portal device. However, addressing security concerns of smart speakers "always listening" to the conversation, Facebook focuses that Portal has been built with privacy and security in mind.

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.

The Portals are available for pre-order now from Facebook, Amazon, and Best Buy, and shipping will commence in November.

Facebook says that the device can't record video tracking function is only needed for proper construction of the frame, and processes the voice requests the device itself, not the servers of the social network. Portal closely resembles Amazon's Echo Show.

Their fears were compounded when Facebook revealed another security breach in late September, when hackers were able to enter its computer network, exposing the personal information of almost 50 million users. To initiate the machine, you need to say, "Hey Portal" and it will start.

Shared experiences are an area that Facebook sees as a workable niche for the Portal devices. It also comes with Amazon's Alexa built-in, so, users can ask for sports scores, weather updates, control smart home devices, as well as order groceries from Amazon, using only voice control.

There were 17 billion video calls on Messenger in 2017, double the number in 2016, according to official data.

Facebook will offer Portal in two sizes - a $199 model with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 "Plus" version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations. The company has been working on video conference hardware for some time but chose to put the project on hold earlier this year because of public outrage about Facebook's data-privacy practices.

Some have called Portal "the worst tech device of the year". Furthermore, the social media giant is also giving its users the ability to completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap.

The Spark AR platform is also being incorporated, which is aimed at making video calls more fun and interactive.

Another innovative feature that comes with the devices, is that they are created to be used either from a short or long distance, making the video calls via smartphone (where the background is always blurry and pixelated) a thing from the past. This year is all about smart displays: Smart speakers, except they've got a screen and camera for video calls.

The new product, called Portal, has been described by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a device that makes video calling feel a lot more like hanging out.

Facebook is grappling for a comeback from its falling shares but fresh privacy issues keep surfacing since after Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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