Facebook Announces a Camera for Your House. Didn’t They Just Get Hacked?

Facebook's new Portal device

The Portal is a sleek new video camera and screen that makes chats with family and friends look great. The Portal includes a 10-inch screen with a 1280 x 800 display, while the Portal+ comes with a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.

Both devices arrive in November, but you can pre-order them starting today for $199 and $349 via portal.facebook.com, Amazon, and Best Buy. For those who are fearless enough with their data to purchase two, there's a $100 discount. Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in, so you have access to a robust voice experience to ask for sports scores, check the weather, control smart home devices, order groceries, and more.

In addition to collecting data on users' commands with Alexa-powered artificial intelligence software, the Portal and Portal+ speakers are equipped with cameras that can follow users around a room and enhance the sound of their voices when they talk. But the company also says the camera and microphone can be "completely" disabled with a single tap. Calls can be made to and from Messenger-enabled smartphones and tablets.

They said Portal is available at Amazon and Best Buy stores in addition to Facebook.com and starts shipping to US customers in early November. There's also integrated Amazon Alexa support and the option to play music. "We want to remove people from feeling that they are on a call - to the feeling of just being together", says Rafa Camargo, a Facebook vice president overseeing the product.

Facebook's advantage over other video-chat services: Chances are, nearly everyone you might want to call already has an account.

The Portal+ is the larger device, with a 15.6-inch 1080p display that can be swiveled to a portrait or landscape position.

Portal lets users place Facebook's augmented reality camera effects, like those found in Instagram, over their faces during video calls. You can delete your Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time. You can start a video call by saying "Hey Portal" and then say who you'd like to call. However, Amazon's and Google's smart displays do much more than make video calls-namely, they integrate with other services, many of which are unique to their parent companies.

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Earlier in the year, it was forced to admit the personal data of tens of millions of users had been hijacked by Cambridge Analytica (CA), a British firm working for Donald Trump in 2016.

With that in mind, the cameras built into Portal are created to intelligently track you as you make your calls.

Both Portals use AI technology to make video chatting better.

Scrutiny this year over Facebook's privacy and content moderation practices have led some people to abandon the service and the company to warn of thinning profits.

Facebook said that despite this it doesn't listen to, view, or keep the contents of video calls, which are encrypted.

Facebook has also built technology to ensure that the webcam can track and pan around the room, keeping the caller in-frame without requiring them to sit or stand in one position, or constantly readjust the device. Facebook has partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy with mode on the way.

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