While Facebook users still haven’t completely gotten over the huge data breach that recently took place, the company now wants to put cameras in your house through its latest products, Facebook Portal and Portal Plus.
Facebook Portal and Portal Plus are essentially the same device but the latter has a bigger display leading to a larger form factor. They are smart displays with a built-in camera and microphone to facilitate video calling/chatting with friends and family over facebook and facebook messenger.
The Portal is the first product to be sold under the company’s own brand name and can be considered as a rival to the newly launched Amazon Echo Show which also has a display. Just like the Echo Show, the Facebook portal has Amazon Alexa integration as well to perform tasks other than video calling like playing music over Spotify or Pandora or playing videos through the Facebook app. However, one cannot access the Facebook app or browse through one’s timeline on the Facebook Portal which is quite contradictory to its nomenclature.
While the smaller Portal looks like a conventional tablet or photo frame that would blend in easily with your interiors at home, the larger Portal Plus literally has a “plus” shaped design that calls for attention. The Portal has a 10-inch 720p screen while the Portal Plus has a 15.6-inch 1080p display.
The whole purpose of designing the Portal according to Facebook is that they wanted its users to experience high quality video calling which isn’t too easy on a smartphone. By using a wide-angle camera on the Portal, user movements can easily be tracked which also lets you go hands-free which you couldn’t if you were using your smartphone. The camera is also smart enough to detect if there are multiple people in the room or a single person based on which either all the people will be kept in focus or an individual’s face will be zoomed in on.
The Facebook Portal and Portal Plus seem like nice devices in terms of productivity if you make a lot of video calls or use Alexa-based automations, but putting a camera in your household which is always connected to your social media, that too from a company just recovering from tremendous backlash due to data breach doesn’t seem like the safest idea. However, if you wish to purchase one yourself, you can get the smaller Portal for $199 and the larger Portal Plus for $349 starting November this year.