Facebook may be a juggernaut in the world of social media, but the company hasn’t been up to date with the AI technology, AI voice assistant to be more specific. Even now as the company confirms its development, it’s a little late to compete with the now-established voice assistants Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
Several months ago, there was a discovery that circled the web for a while, and it involved the so-called ‘Aloha Voice Testing’. It was a supposed speech recognition feature, and it was on Facebook and its messenger app.
There was even a prototype that was shown, thanks to Jane Manchun Wong, a mobile researcher specializing in reverse engineering. Do note that this was months ago, and Facebook is now probably way past the speech recognition’s functionality. The company had no comment during that time it was exposed.
That being said, this wasn’t the first attempt that the company made on harnessing the AI voice support. There was a Messenger feature named ‘M’ that was supposed to help its users on dealing with simple recommendations and actions, just like Alexa or Siri would. At first, it was welcomed by thousands of users, but to their dismay, it wasn’t enough as it lacks the ‘AI’ support. This ultimately leads to its cancellation. To put it simply, ‘M’ wasn’t good enough since it was heavily reliant on human interactions.
AI Voice Assistant on Facebook?
Just recently, the tech company confirmed that an AI voice assistant is on the works. This is coming from the division that worked on Oculus VR and other hardware tech. It was revealed that the project voice assistant was helmed by the director of Facebook assistant and AR/VR, Ira Snyder, and is leading the team towards its development.
There were rumors that the voice assistant wouldn’t be exactly on Facebook, instead it would launch on the company’s other services such as Portal Facebook and Oculus VR. The rumor was confirmed after a representative of the company announced,
“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.”
To be fair, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa already are miles ahead in the game when it comes to AI voice technology. It would be inconsequential to compete with these three alone, not even mentioning other AI voice supports that are lurking across the net.
That being said, we can safely assume that the project’s main focus for now is expanding their AI tech, in the hopes that it could further improve their family of hardware devices, most especially Oculus and Portal.
A Mix of Reactions
Facebook isn’t actually new to controversies, especially that time when founder Mark Zuckerberg testifies in congress. And just recently, another news broke out regarding the leak that affected millions of their users Instagram account.
As expected, the company is taking a lot of heat right now, and it seems that the reactions or criticisms on their development of AI voice assistant is the least of their worries.