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Facebook is working on a voice assistant, but will anyone use it?

Zuck off with that ish.

Facebook portal device on table
Image: Facebook

Okay Facebook, now you’ve gone too far. It’s not enough that you track us wherever we go, guess at where we go next, track us even if we don’t have an account and steal our email contact lists – now you want us to trust your voice assistant? According to CNBC, that’s exactly what Zuck and co want, with a voice AI that’s been in development since 2018.

The group working on the voice assistant is part of Facebook’s augmented and virtual reality team and is lead by Ira Snyder, Director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant. They must already be fairly well into development, as they’ve recently started contacting smart speaker vendors, likely to forge manufacturing relationships.

Before you start worrying that Facebook will be listening in to everything you say (as if it doesn’t already), a spokesperson told Reuters that the effort is mainly focused on Facebook’s AR and VR devices. That makes sense to me, and might even herald a new generation of VR headsets that don’t need physical controllers to use.

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.

Okay, you saw the Portal mentioned. I guess Facebook really does want an excuse to listen to everything we say. Can’t wait till I get targeted advertising based on the amount I swear IRL.

I can’t quite see how Facebook is going to break into the smart speaker market

Which is dominated by Amazon’s Echo devices. According to eMarketer, Echo devices will have 63.3-percent of the market by the end of 2019, while Google’s Home smart devices will take up most of the rest with 31-percent. That leaves less than six percent of the market for Facebook to fight to the death with Apple’s Siri-enabled HomePod and Samsung’s Bixby smart speaker. Then again, it might be a short fight as there’s still no sign of the Samsung device.

What do you think? Can you believe Facebook is trying to pull this ish? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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