With Google and Amazon going head to head in the voice hardware space, it’s easy to forget about Facebook. However, what is Facebook working on?
Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook, gave a talk this morning at the Web Summit and discussed Facebook’s projects. He spoke about their work in Internet broadband, computer vision, AI, creating new art on videos, and more. It was a summary of many of the new things Facebook is working on — many of them quite impressive and ambitious.
Facebook has a lots of infrastructure, data, and apps. It owns a VR hardware company — Oculus, it’s working on touch controllers, it owns both it’s own Messenger as well as WhatsApp. Several years ago, they purchased Wit.AI for NLU and bots. The Facebook and Messenger apps are on hundreds of millions of devices and potentially have access to location and sensor information on those devices (as well as consumption of other apps and services).
Beyond this data that one good argue is also available to other large companies, Facebook has your social data. Whose profile are you looking at? How much time are you spending there? What length of time do you spend analyzing certain photos compared to others? Who have you not connected with in awhile? This is much more insight into our behaviour than can be gathered by Amazon, Google, or Apple.
By becoming the de facto ISP in the developing world, Facebook will also have access to all data passing over its network. Maybe most of this data will be encrypted, but there could still be analytics to glean from it (time, IP address, packet size, frequency, etc).
So when will voice come to Facebook? You could say it’s already there with interaction with bots and voice messaging but perhaps the next versions of its AR/VR hardware could include voice interaction. If not, perhaps Facebook could embrace the other voice platforms for interaction with its AI and services.
Would Google allow a Facebook Action for Google Assistant or could Alexa have a Facebook Skill?