As Facebook faces questioning regarding its privacy settings, rumours have emerged the recent publicity may delay any launch of its planned smart home technology.
Last year the internet was awash with news the social media giant was primed to release a 15-inch touchscreen smart speaker, with experts then tipping the launch date would be the first quarter of 2018.
The latest in the lineup of helpful home assistants was predicted to bring all your messaging and photo needs to one handy device. But that was before controversy rocked the social media behemoth’s otherwise steady boat.
So, let’s look at what Facebook may have offered and what’s likely to happen next.
Like most tech titans, Facebook was keen to keep its surprise offering under wraps, but that didn’t halt a few occasional leaks along the development voyage.
Tech Crunch tipped a Facebook product would take the form of a video speaker that “could potentially extend Facebook’s feed of photos and videos, plus its dominant messaging platform, into the bedroom, living room or kitchen”.
“The Facebook speaker might work as a digital photo frame when inactive, piping in new photos or videos to brighten up the home. Through voice commands, users could potentially Like or leave comments on this content,” they speculated.
“It would also be sensible for Facebook to allow messaging from the speaker, via voice-dictated text messages, VoIP audio calls or video calling. As of February (2017), 400 million of Facebook Messenger’s 1.2 billion users communicate via Facebook audio and video calling every month. A touch-screen smart speaker could become a high-tech home phone alternative that’s easy for younger kids and grandparents to use.”
But that was then, and this is now. Since speculation that Facebook would actively seek to enter people’s homes, things have changed on the networking front. Once the darling of social media, now Facebook is treading some very rough waters.
Amid news a third party had used Facebook data to tap information on 50 million users, Facebook is currently in damage control, and part of that involves the delay of their speaker.
On March 28, Bloomberg stated: “Facebook Inc. has decided not to unveil new home products at its major developer conference in May, in part because the public is currently so outraged about the social network’s data-privacy practices…”
They now tip the new hardware products, “which include connected speakers with digital-assistant and video-chat capabilities” have been delayed indefinitely, despite initial plans to unveil them over the coming months.
They note the devices were “part of Facebook’s plan to become more intimately involved with users’ everyday social lives, using artificial intelligence – following a path forged by Amazon.com Inc. and its Echo in-home smart speakers”.
While Facebook may be negotiating some uncharted territory, the upshot is the home speaker market is becoming an increasingly competitive realm that more and more big names are looking to embrace.
And that’s because smart home tech is entering the mainstream. Large brands are seeking to enter the smart home realm due to more and more people expecting their lifestyle to seamlessly connect with their technological desires.
Facebook might be all quiet (for now) on the smart home front but that’s unlikely to be the case in the long run.
Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region with a unique insight into the trends and future of smart home tech.
Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.