Facebook introduces ‘Hey Facebook’ prompt for AI assistance


Facebook announced that it is introducing the ‘Hey Facebook’ voice prompt for its Portal smart displays and Oculus Quest platforms.

Saying that Facebook has come a long way is a severe understatement. Ever since it skyrocketed to global fame, or infamy, depending on the reader, Facebook has become omnipresent.

It has bought the majority of beloved tech companies that people use daily such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus.

Calling Facebook just a social media tech company is now inaccurate. Facebook now offers services beyond just connecting people. In fact, just yesterday, Facebook announced a feature that dips its toes within the realm of Google’s and Apple’s AI assistance.

Facebook wants ‘Hey Facebook’ to be a thing

The AI assistance market currently has three big names. These are Alexa, Siri, and Google. Samsung tried its hand on it, but the Bixby just doesn’t resonate that much.

Now, Facebook wants in on the fun by introducing ‘Hey Facebook.’ This feature is currently limited to its Portal devices and Oculus Quest platforms.

The voice prompt works exactly like Siri and Google. When the user says ‘Hey Facebook,’ the Portal and Oculus devices are prompted to listen to a voice command. Users can request Facebook to take a screenshot or call somebody on its contacts list.

Unfortunately, for Oculus users, the prompt is ‘Hey Facebook’ and not ‘Hey Oculus.’  Nonetheless, this feature will prove to be useful for a more immersive and hands-free experience when using VR.

The voice prompt is a completely opt-in feature. Portal devices will come with the feature disabled, and users may switch it on as they like. The same applies to Oculus devices.

Fortunately, Facebook made it like such after its entanglement with data privacy and security for the past years.

Will this feature catch on eventually?

Facebook did not share its big picture vision for ‘Hey Facebook.’ However, its natural progression will, of course, take its application on the Facebook apps.

Eventually, this feature should be available on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and other Facebook-owned apps. It’s still a toss coin if Facebook will want the voice prompt to be still called ‘Hey Facebook.

Nonetheless, having this feature will be neat, especially for typing and sending messages across all Facebook apps. It may also be used for Instagram for hands-free picture taking or video recording.

Facebook already has a wide reach across the world. Its AI assistance’s success will just heavily depend on the company restoring the trust of its users with regard to data privacy.

Image from Oculus/ YouTube thumbnail

Steven Hung

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Steven Hung

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