Watch TV much? If so, there is a good chance you’ve already viewed the Facebook Portal commercials a few dozen times. The Portal is like a static iPad on a stand with an always on camera, microphone, and speaker.
Portal connects to other Facebook users so you can communicate quickly and effortlessly, one to one. Think video call. Think Skype or FaceTime from an always on, always waiting, always watching, and always tracking camera. Watching you.
Friend? Or, Foe?
The idea of an always available portal to your friends or family members is compelling. That’s exactly what made Skype and FaceTime so popular; a simple and easy way to connect online, go face-to-face, and communicate without typing email or texting. Face-to-face is personal and nothing says personal better than Facebook’s Portal TV commercials.
All that face-to-face comes at a price. Actually, three prices. The smaller Portal is an affordable $199. The larger Portal weighs in at $349. Wait a minute. Isn’t Facebook the world’s second largest privacy invader? Facebook:
You can completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap, or block the camera lens with the camera cover provided.
That’s if I don’t want anyone to see me prancing around in my underwear. What about tracking all that goes on in the house?
Facebook doesn’t listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you’re calling.
Fair enough, but Facebook doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation for privacy; if anything, it may be a worse offender than Google.
For added security, Smart Camera uses AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers. Portal’s camera does not use facial recognition and does not identify who you are.
Perhaps, but Facebook knows who signed in, and based on cross referencing other data, Facebook truly knows who is using Portal.
Facebook doesn’t have its own Siri so it uses Amazon’s Alexa. Amazon has a similar product to counter or match Portal, but frankly, it’s likely you already have such a device and it’s living on every major Apple product; Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
FaceTime. It’s the Skype of discriminating ecosystem dwellers. Apple claims to have well over 1-billion devices in the wild, and nearly 100-percent of them are FaceTime capable. What’s the difference between FaceTime and Facebook Portal?
FaceTime comes free on each Mac, iPhone, and iPad, while Facebook Portal requires you to buy a camera device for you, and to make sure whomever you wish to connect to has one also. See the problem? Facebook has a history.
I love the idea. The concept of always on connectivity has legs. Maybe Apple will have a FacePod product to compete with Amazon Echo Show and Facebook Portal and we can all sleep better at night knowing we’re not being stalked by companies that make money stealing personal information.
In the interim, everyone you know with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac already has such a portal and it works well. FaceTime.