Facebook reportedly building its own voice assistant

Facebook may be looking to launch its own voice assistant. Unnamed sources have claimed that the tech company’s team for augmented and virtual reality has been working on a voice platform since early 2018. Ira Snyder, director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant, is reportedly spearheading the voice project.

Although Facebook is best known for its social media networks, it also has its own hardware operations, including the Oculus virtual reality company and the recently announced voice-activated Portal video chat devices. Portal can handle simple voice commands through the “Hey Portal” prompt, but also supports Amazon Alexa for more complicated tasks.

The debut of Portal in late 2018 led to questions about why the tech company would make such a late entry into the industry for smart speakers. The global field is thoroughly led by Amazon and Google, and given the consumer skepticism and privacy infringements happening at Facebook, convincing its users to grant even more access into their lives may be a very hard sell.

Anna Washenko