Talking speakers are all the rage these days. There’s Amazon’s Echo with Alexa. Google’s Home speaker with Assistant. And, uh, um, well… Oh, yeah. Apple’s HomePod. Talking speakers have sold by the dozen or dozens of millions; depending upon whom you ask (Amazon won’t say; analysts make guesstimates based upon how much light remains after the suppository is gone, and seldom agree upon a number).
Hmmm. Let’s see. Amazon, Google, Apple. Which one does not belong in that group? Apple is the only company that does not track users, so wouldn’t it be better to call HomePod a music device and not a talking speaker? Sure. And wouldn’t it be better to call Amazon’s and Google’s new devices stalking speakers instead?
Stalking speakers. I like that. Spread it around. No attribution necessary.
Oh, by the way, guess who wants to get into the stalking speaker business? Yes, another giant online stalker. Facebook.
Word on the streets for a few months is that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wants to launch a line of smart speakers with a built-in digital assistant and video chat.
Hmmm. Let’s see. Amazon, Google, and Facebook want talking speakers in every household. And, remember– these are more stalking speakers than talking speakers. They track what you do and report back to the mothership every piece of information it can gather while you’re blabbing away and paying little attention to the fact that you’ve become a very profitable product for each stalking speaker maker.
Stalking speakers. What could go wrong?
Well, it already has. Facebook decided to delay the stalking speaker introduction because Facebook was caught lying about what it does and what happens to some of the private information it collects about its users.
Two words: Cambridge Analytica. Also known as the tip of the iceberg. The same whistleblower who uncovered Facebook’s problem keeping data private and not misusing data says Facebook also uses various smartphone microphones to spy on their users.
Is this a good time for Facebook to introduce a stalking speaker with the capability of spying ever more on its users? I’m thinking probably not. Maybe next year.
Word on the streets is this. The stalking speaker features a wide-angle camera, a microphone or two, speakers, of course, and some in-house Facebook developed artificial intelligence– you know, the kind that Amazon and Google put into Alexa and Assistant to spy on their customers and users.
Can you say Facebook Portal?
That’s the code name for one of Facebook’s planned stalking speakers. It’s not as if smartphone users do not already have a way to chat with friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers. Hello? FaceTime, Skype, Line, WhatsApp, Signal, Wire, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and a gazillion other ways. Why do we need Facebook Portal?
We don’t. But Facebook needs yet another way to capture user information and what better way than a stalking speaker system with some kind of built-in artificial intelligence. Amazon has Alexa. Google has Assistant. Samsung has Bixby. Apple has Siri.
Facebook’s new stalking speakers will have Zuck. “Hey, Zuck. What’s the weather like today?”
Sure, the world needs yet another stalking speaker. How will Facebook’s be different than Amazon or Google or Samsung?
“Hey Zuck…” That’s a phrase that has legs. You know, like Crooked Hillary or President Spanky.