Facebook has confirmed a report earlier today that says it is working on an artificial intelligence-based digital voice assistant in the Amazon Alexa Alexa and Google Assistant. The news that was first reported by CNBC indicates that Facebook does not give up on a vision that it first set out many years ago when it began to develop an AI assistant for its Messenger platform, simply called M.
This But time says that Facebook focuses less on messaging and more on platforms where hands-free interaction via voice control and potential control is crucial. "We're working on developing number and AI assistant technologies that can work across our family of AR / VR products, including Portal, Oculus, and future products," a Facebook spokesman said. The Verge today after the original report. This means that Facebook may not place the product as a competitor of Alexa or similar platforms, but as more of a feature exclusive to its growing family of hardware devices.
CNBC reported that the team building assistant is working out of Redmond, Washington under the leadership of Ira Snyder, manager of Facebook Reality Labs and a director of enhanced and virtual reality at the company. Snyder LinkedIn page also lists him as director of a product called Facebook Assistant, which is probably the internal name of the project. It is unclear whether it will be its final commercial name when it starts.
CNBC says the project has been in the works since early 201
This project and the various divisions involved in bringing it to life highlight the goals of Facebook's new approach to experimental technology. Since the acquired Oculus in 2013, the social networking forward divisions have taken various organizational structures, most recently in the form of a new pair of divisions.
The first of the two divisions is the AR / VR hardware group responsible for the development of the Portal Video Chat device, and this division now also contains the remnants of Facebook's resolved Building 8 secret division, formerly run by former DARPA director and Google employee Regina Dugan, who left the company at the end of 2017. The second division is now known as Facebook Reality Labs, run by jigsaw puzzle Michael Abrash, who became a Facebook employee at Oculus and now has the title of chief researcher at the VR company.
It seems that Facebook AI Assistant is jointly built by both teams, where Snyder apparently has positions in both divisions. Regardless of the ultimate purpose, it is clear that Facebook treats its growing family of hardware devices as wires to a common vision for the future, where AI is layered throughout Facebook-owned platforms and not limited to single products.