Facebook Videotelephony, Novel Artificial Intelligence Technique @FB


It is another day of a busy week. You just woke up from a good night’s sleep, checked daily news updates on your phone, responded to an online post and are all set to take a soothing shower before you head to office. Not to mention you also bought a goofy holiday sweater for your mother in between all of the morning hassle. From waking up to smart alarm and checking news updates hand-picked for you to taking a shower and buying that sweater for your mom, you have unknowingly used Artificial Intelligence for quite a bunch of times in a few early hours of the day. AI has intruded our car systems, smartphones and home appliances in countless ways and as risky as it may sound, AI is nothing but an advanced algorithmic application of our knowledge to run codes for quick responses.


Facebook decided not to be left behind the AI intervention in technology a long time ago. After its initial implementation of AI for the purpose of content identification, transcription and filtration, Facebook has moved on to Intelligent Videotelephony. The novel AI Videotelephony was launched in the beginning of October, 2018 and is available in the form of two devices; the Portal and Portal +.

For a quick introduction, both these AI devices offer you the facility of calling anyone without the need of making much effort with your hands. This refined, hands-free user experience is available in a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display for portal and a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 for Portal +.


What is included in the system?

Both the AI devices include a set of Smart Sound and Smart camera technology.

  • The Smart camera is the main component which keeps up with the action and works to monitor and zoom at everyone in its field of view.
  • The Smart Sound technology works wonderfully to eliminate most of the background for a refined, and clearer hearing experience for users irrespective of their movement.

Group and Messenger calls:

Another amazing feature about the Portal is that it can video call the contacts present in your Messenger, irrespective of their Portal usage or not. You also get to enjoy calling a group of upto 7 members simultaneously.

Everyday news and updates:

Portals integration with Amazon’s Alexa is a promise for a refined hands-free coice control experience. This built-in feature can offer you hands-free access to weather checks, sports scores and other updates of similar sorts. You can also enjoy a refined control on your smart home devices, order groceries and much more. Facebook has also partnered with iHeartRadio, Spotify Premium, Food Network, Pandora, Newsy and Food Watch to enable sharing of activities on Portal devices.

How safe is Portal?

Facebook has recently born the brunts of a serious security breach which has affected over 50 million users.

To save any such incidents from happening in future, Facebook has introduced some major improvements in Portal which include:

  • Camera and Microphone can be disabled completely with just a touch
  • Camera cover is also available with Portal and Portal + which will help in blocking your camera’s lens whilst letting you receive incoming calls, notification and input voice commands.
  • 4-digit to 12-digit passcodes can be set on your Portal devices for screen lock. This passcode can only be changed by changing your Facebook Password.
  • Although Facebook’s server is designed to store voice data by default for the sake of refining user-experience, you can delete this data by going to your Facebook’s Activity Log and erasing it any time you want.


Is it really worth it?

Considering the restrictions put on data crypting by Facebook, one can not help but wonder whether Facebook’s AI videtelephony is as novel is as it is being portrayed to be. If we stick to its features, Portal AI devices are undoubtedly a start of a new AI revolution on social media platforms.


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