Facebook plans to take on Siri with the latest voice activation feature, ‘Hey Facebook’

Facebook Portal
Facebook Portal

Users who have an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac can use the ‘Hey Siri‘ voice command, which invokes Apple’s virtual assistant, to communicate with Siri without even touching the device. Facebook is now adding a new, “Hey Facebook” wake word for its own smart devices while other assistants like Amazon’s Alexa still have similar commands.

Facebook has its own lineup of “Portal” mobile devices, which are essentially tablets or “Smart Screens” meant to be used on a table or desk at home. Moreover, the Oculus VR site, operated by Facebook, still exists.

As mentioned by Verge, Facebook today revealed that when using the “Hey Facebook” voice order, Oculus Quest users will now have a hands-free experience. For example, users can now access commands like “Hey Facebook, take a screenshot” or “Hey Facebook, show me who’s online.”

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Portal systems already have a “Hey Portal” similar command that is now being replaced by “Hey Facebook“. After recognizing the wake terms, Facebook devices begin capturing and transcribing what the user says, much like other virtual assistants. This feature, Facebook says, is optional and is disabled by default.

Of course, since Facebook is notorious for gathering user data without asking for permission, this poses privacy issues. While Siri provides a similar “Hey Siri” feature, once the system hears the wake order, Apple ensures that its devices do not send anything to Apple’s servers. Thanks to the AI built into Apple’s own chips, the method of defining the “Hey Siri” phrase is carried out offline.

Can you trust that the virtual assistant on Facebook is still on at home or at work? Let us know, in the comments below.

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