Following the success of the Amazon’s Echo and Alphabet’s Google Home products, Facebook has also been rumored to be working on its own smart speakers that are said to be powered by the company’s very own voice-based personal digital assistant. A new report from CNBC now claims that the company may be planning to sell them internationally before launching them in the US.
The report further states that the devices will be shipped with a voice-based digital assistant that will have the same underlying algorithm that powered the company’s artificial intelligence program ‘M’ smart assistant, which was once available as part of the Messenger app before being withdrawn earlier this year. The company, however, never quite shut down the program, and according to multiple sources quoted by CNBC, has apparently been ‘developing it into a voice assistant, complete with voice commands’.
At the ongoing F8 Developer Conference, the company even announced a real-time translation tool for Messenger and Marketplace called ‘M Translations’ that will enable text conversations between people using different languages.
Facebook was originally expected to announce the devices at F8 2018, but the increased scrutiny on the company following the Cambridge Analytical scandal meant that announcing a device with always-listening functionality was out of the question. According to the CNBC report, an international roll out of the devices might help the company gauge the public reaction before bringing them to the US.
Earlier rumors suggested that Facebook has been working on two smart speakers, one of which will be a direct competitor to the standard Amazon Echo in terms of its features and price-tag. The company is also said to have a larger device in the works; one that will be on the lines of the Echo Show, and will feature a camera and a touchscreen display.