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Trust-challenged Facebook stresses privacy in launch of Portal video communication device

Facebook has made another move into the tech hardware space with the the announcement of its Portal and Portal+ home video communication devices to be launched in the US in November.

The company, which saw its trust ranking collapse in the 2018 FutureBrand Index, was at pains to explain the security features in its announcement for the device which is yet to have an Australian release date.

Facebook’s new Portal video messaging devices are its latest foray into tech hardware

“Facebook doesn’t listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you’re calling. In addition, video calls on Portal are encrypted, so your calls are always secure,” emphasised the Facebook announcement.

“You can completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap. Portal and Portal+ also come with a camera cover, so you can easily block your camera’s lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications, plus use voice commands.”

“We also want to be up front about what information Portal collects, help people understand how Facebook will use that information, and explain the steps we take to keep it private and secure.”

“For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers. Portal’s camera doesn’t use facial recognition and doesn’t identify who you are.

“Like other voice-enabled devices, Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after you say, ‘Hey Portal.’ You can delete your Portal’s voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time.”

The devices will feature voice control, similar to Google Home and Amazon Alexa, along with integration with Facebook’s social media services and its Messenger communications platform.

Like Alexa and Home, Facebook’s devices will offer a voice-activated system triggered by a “Hey Portal” instruction giving accesses to informations like sports scores, weather reports and grocery shopping along with controlling smart home devices.

The Portal boasts a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display. While Portal+ has a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.

Both devices are available for pre-order in the US at $US199 for the Portal and $US349 for the Portal+ with US shipping to begin in November.

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