Rumor has it that Facebook has been working on a smart speaker system to compete with Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, and whatever it is Microsoft thinks it’s doing with Cortana.

And rumor also has it that in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, Facebook officials thought better of their original plans to show off its new smart speakers during the F8 developer conference that kicked off today. I guess someone at Facebook figured that launching a new platform to put a device with an always-listening mic in your house might not be the best idea at a time when people aren’t sure they can trust you with their private data.

So Facebook announced it was bringing dating app features to its platform instead. Go figure.

Anyway, according to CNBC’s sources, the social network hasn’t given up on its smart speaker plans. It’s just retooling them a bit.

CNBC reports that “multiple sources” say Facebook is turning the M assistant originally built for Facebook Messenger into an Alexa/Siri/Google Assistant-style voice assistant, and “two people who have had discussions with the company” say that Facebook still plans to launch smart speakers that would be powered by the M assistant.

But with the company facing some backlash over privacy policies in the US, Facebook is said to be considering launching its speakers in other countries first.

According to CNBC, Facebook is currently working on at least two models. One sounds like it’s “just” a normal smart speaker that you interact with by voice. The other has a camera and touchscreen display and it could be used for video calls, among other things.

That’s not surprising. A bunch of things Facebook announced today were video call-centric, including support for AR effects in Facebook Messenger video calls, group video calling in WhatsApp, and video chat coming to Instagram.

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8 replies on “Report: Facebook still wants to put mic and camera (I mean smart speakers) in your house”

  1. I don’t really understand the hate towards Facebook on this, they clearly spelled out they were harvesting all of your data, and doing more or less whatever they want with it, the terms I agreed to said it pretty straight forward so I fully knew and expected this was going to happen. Its really like people somehow forgot or convinced themselves that everything was solid just because Facebook is constantly “updating our privacy policy to better protect you” ………if what should normally be an expensive service or product is free…..most times YOURE the product.

    As far as the assistants go, I literally laugh my ass off when people say things like “id NEVER have 1 in my house blah blah”……while you have a cell phone in your pocket or on your night stand, or a laptop you’re typing away on….the reality is if you actually take your time and watch the data going in and out of your devices, you’ll know what is spying on you and what isn’t……could it….absolutely, just like ANY OTHER device you have with an internet connection, microphone and camera, the same devices you’ve all had for years. And please, PLEASE go ahead and try the feeble “but but but my smart phone doesn’t spy on me” argument and see how far that gets you in reality.

  2. I laughed at Brad’s “and whatever it is Microsoft thinks it’s doing with Cortana”. Like others have said, never going to happen at my house.
    .
    After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, anyone who buys a Facebook smart speaker should remember an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  3. Nothing against Facebook, but I don’t want any camera and microphone ‘Assistant’ spying on me all the time. That goes for Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple too. Don’t they collect too much of my private information already? It reminds me of George Orwell’s book “1984”. Big Brother is watching you!

  4. Not going to ever happen, at least in this household. No credibility to trust they won’t use it for nefarious purposes.

        1. Mycroft is a Linux (Unix) open source intelligent speaker tool. Mark II was crowd-funded in 2018

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