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Welcome Facebook into your home with the Facebook portal


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Nowadays everyone seems to be jumping on the smart home bandwagon: Amazon, Apple, Google and it now appears Facebook is joining the party. All these big companies want a physical, permanent presence in your homes.

The latest to join being Facebook with its Facebook Portal. For those of you who don’t know, this isn’t Facebook’s first approach into the hardware market. In 2013 Facebook actually launched its own version of Android which came pre-installed on the HTC First phone.

There are two Facebook Portals, the regular Portal and the Portal +. The normal Portal has a 10.1” 720p screen and the Portal + has a 15.6” 1080p screen which can be rotated portrait or landscape. Both Portals come with 12MP cameras with 140 degrees field of view and come in black or white.

What's so special about video calling, I hear you ask? To start with when you are in a video call the camera will follow you around, focusing on you. If someone was to leave or join the room then the camera will zoom in / out accordingly. Also, the microphones will follow you where you go e.g. if you cooking in the kitchen then the audio will stay consistent.

There is also a storytelling mode, which can give the user background effects and face filters which could be useful if grandma on the other side of the world wants to tell the grandchildren a bedtime story. Also, there is a joint music mode which lets you and the person you are video calling to listen to the same music.

When the Portal isn’t being used it will display content from Facebook such as photos, upcoming events, and birthday reminders.

Let's address the elephant in the room… Facebook hasn’t had the best attention in the news recently regarding privacy. Especially due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal when Cambridge Analytica was found to be gathering data from millions of Facebook accounts without the owners’ permission. Recently a bug was found on Facebook which allowed hackers to get into around 50 million Facebook accounts.

Now Facebook is aware that it needs to regain trust if it can of users around the world. For a lot of people though the thought of having a Facebook camera and microphone in your home is unwanted. Whilst the Portal comes with a button that disables the camera and microphone physically and a camera cover will come included. That may not be enough to convince users to trust Facebook.

Are you willing to trust Facebook again? Will you get a Facebook Portal?


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