How do technology companies, advertisers, and websites spy on you? Actually, it’s a rather easy process and a time honored methodology. We let them in. Look around. If your home is like mine, then it has plenty of gadgets which we use for various and sundry reasons– web browsing, applications, television, and much more. Those devices are connected to the public interwebs because that’s where we want to be and that’s exactly how those nefarious forces come through the door to take information away from us.
Among those industry giants that reside in our homes– from Apple to Samsung, from Amazon to Google, from Facebook to Microsoft– only Facebook does not make hardware we want. That’s about to change. Facebook wants to put cameras and microphones in your home. What could go wrong?
Facebook doesn’t seem to be content to reside on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, but has plans to push a video chat hardware product onto the market– at least, that’s what the folks at Cheddar say.
Like Amazon’s screen-equipped Echo Show, Facebook’s Portal is designed to work indoors and be controlled through voice commands. According to people familiar with Facebook’s plans, Portal will be equipped with a wide-angle lens that is capable of recognizing individual faces and associating them with their Facebook accounts.
Uh oh. What could go wrong?
Facebook has ventured into hardware before but success has been fleeting. Remember the Facebook smartphone? Nobody else does, either. What about Oculus VR? It’s not exactly a big seller. Still, flush with riches from mining user information and ignoring privacy concerns, Facebook has a hardware lab called Building 8, and those folks want to make something we can all love and use. And buy.
With Building 8, Facebook hopes to eventually sell a suite of consumer products that can compete with offerings from the likes of Amazon, Google, and Apple. Facebook employees have internally referred to the video chat device with the codename “Aloha” but recently settled on the name Portal
Think Amazon Echo Show, complete with artificial intelligence, built-in voice commands, a wide-angle camera lens, and the ability to play videos from Netflix, music from Spotify, but probably not have anything to do with Amazon Prime Video or Google.
In this case, Portal will do what is being done by every other technology giant, but perhaps better by Apple than anyone else; including Amazon, Google, and Samsung. How many households are flush with Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, Apple TV et al, vs. Amazon Echo or Google Home?
In other words, Apple has more devices with camera and microphone in the average home than all competitors combined. That may mean the market is somewhat saturated and another $500 gadget that does what many gadgets already do could be a hard sell.
Why is Facebook doing this?
Think camera and microphone. Facebook, like Amazon and Google, makes money using different methods than Apple, and a camera and microphone controlled– not by Apple– by those who rely on advertising and capturing user information– by Facebook and not the user would be a treasure for those who seek to remove personal information, privacy, and security from their users.
Apple’s products have cameras and microphones but they are user controlled, not advertiser controlled. Big difference, no?