We are still recovering from Apple’s foray into the home speaker business, and now there might be another player in the game. Google and Amazon are currently the major players in the game. With Amazon being kind of a big deal when it comes to home speakers, but Google is holding their own. When I said recovering, I simply meant that it’s turned the industry on its head a bit. And not necessarily because they are a competitor. But because it’s just one more smart speaker that we have to figure out what to do with. Or how it fits in with our current tech.
The HomePod has incredible sound, but there have been many complaints about it already. If you’re a loyal Spotify user, then you’re not going to want to get a HomePod – even if you are well immersed in the Apple ecosystem. All of that said though, there might be a new kid in town. On one hand, I’m a bit surprised about this, but at the same time, I’m actually not. Who is thinking about launching their own smart speaker? Facebook.
That’s right, the social networking giant is poised to launch their own smart speaker later this year. Scary right? I mean, it’s one thing to have a company like Apple everywhere in your home. But I would argue that Facebook is more interconnected to your life than it should be. Facebook, for example, tracks everything that you do online in order to make more money from their ads. Which is why a smart speaker means that you’re getting a little bit more intimate with Facebook than you want to be.
The devices won’t be Echo or HomePod lookalikes. Instead, they’ll compete against smart speakers with displays, like the Echo Show. Codenamed Aloha and Fiona, the two Facebook speakers come with 15-inch touchscreen displays, which would allow family users to stay in touch. Obviously, you need to experience Facebook’s many products on this device, and that’s why a screen is required. Support for video chat and other social features are also included.
This is a bit creepy in my opinion. I mean how integrated can one platform be in your life? There are also reports that Facebook wants you to install a VPN from their platform. What they don’t tell you is that the VPN collects a lot of your personal data. A lot of people complain about the NSA listening into their phone calls or knowing what they’re messaging to friends and family. But we should really be concerned about Facebook. Yes, other social networking platforms as well, but think about all the information that Facebook has on you. It’s an incredible amount of data!
The Aloha is apparently the more sophisticated model and will be sold as Facebook Portal. The device will come with voice recognition features like any smart speaker, but also with facial recognition. A wide-angle lens on the front of the device will be able to recognize users. The Portal will also come with music, thanks to deals Facebook inked with Sony and Universal Music.
You all know that I’m very supportive of competition, but I worry what this will do to consumers in terms of their privacy. Sure, having other home speaker options is great, but being in bed with Facebook in such an intimate way isn’t a good thing – in my opinion. As always, use your judgment when making these purchases.