Since early 2018, Facebook's artificial intelligence team has been developing an AI voice assistant to compete with the likes of Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, reports Salvador Rodriguez of CNBC/NBC News.
"The effort is coming out of the company's division that works on long-term tech projects and hardware, including the company's virtual reality Oculus headsets. A team based out of Redmond, Washington, has been spearheading the effort to build the new AI assistant."
The tech company has been working on this new initiative since early 2018. The effort is coming out of the company's augmented reality and virtual reality group, a division that works on hardware, including the company's virtual reality Oculus headsets.
A team based out of Redmond, Washington, has been spearheading the effort to build the new AI assistant, according to two former Facebook employees who left the company in recent months. The effort is being lead by Ira Snyder, director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant. That team has been contacting vendors in the smart speaker supply chain, according to two people familiar.
It's unclear how exactly Facebook envisions people using the assistant, but it could potentially be used on the company's Portal video chat smart speakers, the Oculus headsets or other future projects.
The Facebook assistant faces stiff competition. Amazon and Google are far ahead in the smart speaker market with 67% and 30% shares in the U.S. in 2018, respectively, according to eMarketer.
— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) April 17, 2019
I'm sure this will go at least as well as their last consumer electronics initiative, a
* checks notes *
creepy camera box that looks like a rectangle glued to a giant popsicle stick. https://t.co/HUhoIluSsF
— Nathan Lawrence (@NathanBLawrence) April 17, 2019
i mean seriously. here are the things facebook would now like us to trust them with, even though they haven't properly addressed privacy issues, etc. etc. etc.
– our eyeballs
– our homes/offices
– our voice
— drew olanoff (@yoda) April 17, 2019
The hardest of passes. https://t.co/Kg5RRH86eD
— One Ring (doorbell) to surveil them all… (@hypervisible) April 17, 2019