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Portal, Facebook's talking speaker, is not a snooping device—that's a message the social network says has gotten lost in the coverage leading up to the device's launch.
Portal will be hitting store shelves Thursday.
Facebook - Issues - Interference - Hacking - Accounts
Facebook's recent issues with foreign interference and hacking (some 30 million accounts were broken into in the fall) and issues with a rogue app developer taking Facebook users' personal information and selling it to third parties have produced much soul searching at Facebook, whose top execs have said it would take at least a year, if not longer, to fix these issues.
"The timing of the launch is a challenge, in terms of the brand and trust, and we're committed to improving on it," says Facebook vice-president Andrew Bosworth. "But this is the product you want. It's exclusively focused on connecting you with the people you care about the most. This is dedicated to having you stay close to them."
Portal - Amazon - Echo - Speaker - Video
The $199 Portal, basically like an Amazon Echo speaker but with a 10-inch video screen, competes with the recently released Google Home Hub ($149, 7-inch screen) and the redesigned Amazon Echo Show ($229), which also has a 10-inch screen.
A larger edition, Portal +, with a 15-inch screen, sells for $349. The units will be available from Amazon, Facebook's Portal store and Best Buy retail and online. The Portal was originally scheduled for Nov. 15 delivery, according to the Facebook website.
Devices - Portal - Trivia - Questions - Focus
Unlike the other devices, while you can use Portal for trivia and having questions answered, the primary focus is as a tool to make video calls. Portal has a built-in camera that can follow you around the room, allowing you to move freely and fit more members of the family in the video chat. It uses Facebook's Messenger platform, which boasts of over 1...
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