Facebook Unveils Portal and Portal

Facebook's new Portal device

Facebook's new Portal device

Facebook has just announced its first video communication devices for the home, dubbed Portal and Portal+.

Facebook will offer Portal in two sizes - a $199 model with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 "Plus" version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations. Made as a smart-speaker with a strong focus on video chatting, the Portal lets you play music through popular streaming services, and chat with friends using Facebook's Messenger.

Facebook is promising its listening and video-capturing device for homes called Portal will safeguard consumer privacy, and that there won't be any ads on it - for now.

It's not year clear when Facebook will be launching the devices in markets outside the United States, or how much they'll cost, but we've reached out to Facebook and we'll update this story as soon as we know more.

We have Interpol chief under arrest, admits Beijing
His disappearance was disclosed by French officials on Friday but China had remained tight-lipped about his status until now. China on Sunday confirmed that it was holding Interpol chief Meng Hongwei for investigation into possible criminal activity.

Now, Facebook is trying to get consumers to trust the company with a device that contains its own hardware, microphone and camera in the middle of their homes, so it's no wonder Facebook is stressing the privacy features, such as ways to disable the mic and cover the camera.

Facebook says it doesn't listen to, view or keep contents of your Portal video calls, and the calls are encrypted - it's unclear if that's end-to-end encryption.

"You can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal". But the company has collaborated with Amazon to build-in Alexa as voice AI, delivering the functionality of an Echo device. The AI used for the Smart Camera and Smart Sound features are also all happening locally, so you don't need to worry about your video calls being stored on Facebook servers.

Indeed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg this spring reportedly pushed back the Portal's launch date by almost half a year after the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal blew up.

Modi, Putin discuss GST
India signed an agreement for the purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. Modi said during the joint press conference that he hoped Russian Federation would help India develop its space program.

The Portal devices feature Amazon Alexa inside, allowing users to ask for weather, news, sports scores, and more. Facebook also says it won't store any of the video sent through the camera on the computers in its data centers. You can delete your Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time.

The $199 Portal and $399 Portal+ are only available for pre-order in the USA and will begin shipping in November. The 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1280x800 and has 10W dual speakers. Sadly neither of them are going to be available outside the United States for the immediate future.

Facebook struck partnerships with companies to bolster the abilities of its Portal devices. Portal will also have an advantage over Amazon and Google's smarthome devices, being able to call any smartphone that has Facebook Messenger installed.

I'm not saying we should all be paranoid about our data but it's a good idea to think about who we are handing it over to, and Facebook has ran out of strikes on this one. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you're calling. Facebook has partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy with mode on the way. However, Amazon's and Google's smart displays do much more than make video calls-namely, they integrate with other services, many of which are unique to their parent companies.

Teenager Shaw's debut ton puts India on top
Only Sachin Tendulkar and Parthiv Patel were younger than Shaw when they got their maiden Test half-centuries, but not on debut. Roach will be absent as he has flown back to attend a family issue and the lack of top-quality spinners is a cause for concern.

Earlier this year, Facebook had to acknowledge that as many as 87 million people may have had their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm that worked for the Trump campaign and aimed to use the data to influence elections.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.