The voice assistant may end up in the company’s Oculus VR headset products and in its Portal video calling appliance. According to CNBC, Facebook’s augmented reality and virtual reality group is behind the project, which dates back to early 2018.
Facebook is developing a voice assistant, which may end up in the company’s virtual reality headset.
The company confirmed the news on Wednesday after CNBC reported that the social network was creating a voice assistant to rival Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and the Google Assistant.
“We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus, and future products,” a Facebook spokesperson told PCMag in an email.
The company didn’t offer any other details about the upcoming assistant. But according to CNBC, Facebook’s augmented reality and virtual reality group is behind the project, which dates back to early 2018.
The voice assistant could certainly make the company’s Oculus VR headsets easier to use. In 2017, Facebook began rolling out an “Oculus Voice” feature to allow voice searches to pull up games and apps. But for now, the headset primarily works with the help of physical controllers.
The same technology could also help Facebook’s Portal video-calling appliance (pictured above) stand out against competing products from Amazon and Google, which have their own voice assistants.
Whether consumers will feel comfortable talking with Facebook’s voice assistant is another matter. Since last year, the social network has been embroiled in privacy scandals involving users’ personal data falling into the hands of third-party companies without their permission.
The company’s previous digital assistant worked over Facebook Messenger and was called M. However, it functioned more as an AI-assisted helper that would offer you suggestions, like sharing stickers or GIFs in your chat messages with friends. The company retired M in January 2018.