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Facebook will launch even more Portal smart speakers this year

Published Jun 11th, 2019 6:50AM EDT
Facebook Portal 2019
Image: Facebook

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In spite of all the privacy and user data abuse scandals that it had to face last year, Facebook still started selling its own smart speakers. Called Portal, the Facebook home devices target similar products from Amazon, Google, and Apple, although Facebook’s Portal comes with a special focus on video chatting. While the hardware and software features sound interesting enough for a product from this niche, the worst thing about the Portals is that you have to trust Facebook with protecting your data and protecting your privacy. And Facebook just confirmed it’s making even more Portal gadgets, which will hit stores later this fall.

The company made it clear last year that the Portals will protect your privacy, packing features such as a camera cover, as well as features that prevent video and sound recording. Moreover, Facebook said that it wouldn’t have access to any of your Portal video calls and it won’t store the data, but admitted that it does collect call-related data from the device.

Since then, Mark Zuckerberg announced a surprising pivot to user privacy for all of Facebook’s products, part of the desire to merge Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp into a single, end-to-end encrypted chat system.

Portals might play right into that type of chat product, which will surely have an end-to-end encrypted calling feature, so seeing Facebook announce more Portal hardware seems like the logical step for the company.

Facebook vice president of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth confirmed during a Code Conference interview that more Portals are in the making, Reuters reports.

“We have a lot more that we’re going to unveil later in this fall, new form factors that we’re going to be shipping,” Bosworth said, without revealing any details about the second-generation Portal products.

The exec had to confirm again during the interview that the devices can’t record things are are only for calls, which perfectly explain how much users trust Facebook.

“There was a lot of conversation around us launching Portal. But it’s about what Facebook is at its core. It’s entirely about private conversation,” he said. Then again, Facebook was never about private conversation, or privacy, to begin with.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.