Facebook has come up with new smart video chat devices that it has rolled out in the US. Called Portal and Portal+, the devices are priced at $199 or more than Rs 14,000 and $349 or more than Rs 25,000 respectively. Consumers can purchase these devices from the official site, Amazon, BestBuy as well as Amazon Books and Best Buy stores, as mentioned by the social networking giant.
While Portal sports a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, Portal+ has a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 display. One can make calls to up to seven people at the same time through these devices. Similar to virtual assistants, Portal can be used to make hands-free voice calls by saying 'Hey Portal' and stating who they would like to call.
The devices, powered by Artificial Intelligence, have a 'Smart Camera' that automatically zooms to keep everyone in view and its 'Smart Sound' automatically enhances the voice of whoever is speaking.
Additionally, Portal also has Amazon Alexa built-in, so that users can do a host of activities such as ask a question, set a timer, add items to the shopping list and control one's smart home, among other things.
Tech site, ReCode, had reported last month that the Portal devices can share your data about your calls, the apps you use etc to advertisers on other platforms owned by Facebook.
However, on Wednesday, Facebook announced that the Portal video calls are encrypted. "Facebook does not listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls, so this information cannot be used for advertising. In addition, Portal video calls are encrypted, so your calls are secure," it said.
"You can delete your Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log. We don't use Portal voice commands to target ads," Facebook further added.