Several people familiar with the mater claim that Facebook plans to launch its smart speakers globally before rolling them in the United States amid an ongoing scandal about user privacy.
Facebook was expected to unveil the two smart speakers at the F8 Developer Conference this week. The devices are a response to Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and Google’s Home.
Unlike other brands of smart speakers, Facebook’s speakers will sport a touchscreen and a camera. They will also allow Facebook users to connect directly to Messenger via the devices.
Facebook’s speakers will also be paired with a smart assistant powered by the company’s AI program, M. The mystery AI program was behind a Messenger chatbot which was killed off in January.
The AI program, however, survived as the tech giant now plans to power its smart speakers’ through M. Facebook has been reportedly tweaking its speech recognition software for years.
Smart Speakers Not Present at F8
At F8, the company unveiled M Translations. which enables Marketplace and Messenger to translate foreign language input into users’ native language. The translation feature is critical for a global launch.
Facebook’s smart voice assistant doesn’t have an official name yet, but some people believe that M stands for “Marvin.” The social media giant has not unveiled the smart speakers yet in the U.S. because of the ongoing scandal around the U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica.
According to multiple reports, the British consulting firm gained access to the private data of 87 million of Facebook users without their consent. Users handed over their personal info mainly via a personality test.
Facebook’s founder testified before Congress over the company’s policies and standards last month. Meanwhile, Facebook promised to restrict the access to user data for most companies and entities.
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