Social media giant Facebook is reportedly developing its own voice assistant to compete with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant.
CNBC reports that social media giant Facebook has been developing its own voice assistant since 2018 in an attempt to compete with Amazon, Google, and Apple. Facebook’s augmented reality and virtual reality group based out of Redmond, Washington, is reportedly heading the development of the new voice assistant software. The same team helped to develop the company’s Oculus VR headset.
Ira Snyder, Facebook’s director of AR/VR, is heading the Facebook Assistant team. Facebook has reportedly been contacting vendors of smart speakers as the company further develops the new software, according to two sources. Facebook has provided few details on how the voice assistant might work but could possibly integrate it with the company’s Portal video chat smart speakers or Oculus VR headsets in the future.
Facebook will have to work hard to catch up to Amazon and Google within the smart speaker market, with each company holding 67 percent and 30 percent of the smart speaker market in the U.S. respectively. Facebook has dabbled in A.I. before with the company’s M A.I. assistant attached to the Messenger app. The project never took off however, partially due to how much human intervention was required, and Facebook ended the project last year.
Facebook previously partnered with Amazon to integrate the company’s Alexa voice assistant in Facebook’s Portal video chat device which went on sale in November. The device essentially acts as a large screen and webcam that allows users to call others via Facebook Messenger.