Gadgets

So I sent my mom that newfangled Facebook Portal

"Who am I going to worry about? Oh Facebook see? No, I do not worry about Facebook. They will look at my big art collection and say they want to come steal it? No, I never really thought about it. This is my mother Sally Constine's 72-year-old response to whether she is worried about her privacy now that she has a video chat device on the Facebook portal. The gadget is on sale and begins shipping today (19459004) at a price of $ 349 US for the 15.6 inch Portal + swivel screen, $ 199 for the 10 inches and $ 100 discount for the purchase of two. ]

The rallying point of most tech journalists – the fact that it's scary or scary to have a Facebook camera and microphone in your house – did not even express concern by a novice in normal technology like my mother. "I do not think it's different from a phone call," she says. "It's not a big deal for me."

While Facebook is plunged into Cambridge Analytica's one-year privacy scandals and its biggest data breach, the concept that it can not be trusted has not necessarily been passed on to everyone. And without this coloring his perception, my mother found that the portal was an easy way to video chat with the family and a powerful reminder to do so.

For a complete review of the Facebook Portal check out Brian Heater's report, hardware editor of TechCrunch:

As a quick introduction, Portal and Portal + are smart video screens and Bluetooth speakers that offer an auto-zoom camera that follows you into the room as you chat on video. They include both the voice assistant of Facebook to control Messenger and Amazon Alexa. There is also a third-party application platform for Spotify and Pandora voice activation, video clips from The Food Network and Newsy, which allows you to scroll through your photos on Facebook in idle mode. For confidentiality, the communications are encrypted, the voice processing in AI mode is done locally on the device. An off switch disconnects the camera and microphone. It comes with a lens cap that prevents you from looking at yourself. compares well with pricing, specifications, and privacy features compared to Amazon's Echo Show, Google Home Hub, and other smart displays.

When we look at our smartphones and our multifunctional computers, connecting with loved ones is not always the first thing that comes to mind like that with a home-school phone at the old school. But with the frame-style portal running on Facebook photos of these dear ones, and with his voice commands, it was natural to turn those midstream moments so that we could scroll through Instagram instead of chatting with the face. to face.

My mother found the installation of the portal very simple, although she wished that the small instruction card uses a larger font. She had no problem logging into her Facebook, Amazon Alexa and Spotify accounts. "It's all these things in one. If you had that, you could put Alexa in a different room, "said the matriarch of Constine.

She found the screen extremely sharp, although some buttons on the screen could be better labeled, at least in the beginning. But once she explored the device software, she laughed uncontrollably while trying augmented reality masks while we were talking. She even used the AR Storytime feature to read me an account of bedtime as she would have done 30 years ago. If I were still a kid, I think I would have loved this way of playing with a parent who was not at home. The intuitive function immediately allowed him to read the modernized story of Three Little Pigs while illustrations filled our screens. And when she found herself wearing a big bad wolf AR costume during her quotes, she managed to adopt her gruff voice.

One of the few problems she discovered was that when Facebook's advertisements for Portal were broadcast on television, they ended up accidentally activating her portal. It may be that Facebook has to teach the device to ignore its own commercials, perhaps by disabling them in a part of the audio spectrum, as the a user of Reddit suggested by Amazon to avoid causing problems with its advertising for the Super Bowl.

My mom does not use much Skype or FaceTime. She is so used to a live audio call with her sister in England that she rarely remembers that video is an option. Having a dedicated appliance in the kitchen kept the idea in mind. "I really want to have a conversation with her. I think I would really feel close to her if I could see her as if I saw you now, "she told me.

Convincing jaded young adults to buy a portal could be a daunting challenge for Facebook. But he's targeting seniors and families with young kids who may not have the same fears of Facebook or who do not use smart phones for video chat, he may be found the way to get closer to the way his social network is supposed to

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