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Facebook is working on a voice AI rival to Siri and Alexa

It's meant to control the company's current and future AR and VR devices.
PA Wire/PA Images
PA Wire/PA Images
Mariella Moon
Mariella Moon|@mariella_moon|April 18, 2019 2:31 AM

Facebook might introduce its own voice assistant à la Siri and Alexa in the future. According to CNBC, the social network's augmented and virtual reality team led by Ira Snyder has been developing a voice AI since 2018. The team has even started contacting smart speaker vendors, presumably to forge partnerships that would lead to devices powered by the new assistant. Based on what a spokesperson told Reuters, though, Facebook is mainly developing the assistant for its Oculus headsets, its Portal smart display and future AR/VR devices.

A spokesperson told the news organization:

"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."

Facebook has previous experience developing AI assistants, but none that could rival Alexa or Siri. It launched the M assistant for Messenger in 2015, which it ultimately axed last year. Users can also trigger commands for its smart display by saying "Hey Portal," but the device still needs Alexa's help for more complex tasks. Since the project is probably still in its very early stages, we'll have to wait quite a bit to see if Facebook's take on voice assistants is comparable to its rival's.

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Facebook is working on a voice AI rival to Siri and Alexa