Facebook Announces Three New AI-Powered Portal Devices

Facebook is introducing three Portal models, starting at $129, a more competitive price than previous models. Two offer a smart display with screen, camera and microphone, and the third can turn a TV into a venue for video chat. The first Portal offered AI-enabled tracking that kept all the participants in the frame and could follow a single person. The AI has been upgraded to provide more accuracy. Although the company “paused” human review of audio, it will resume the practice for some Portal audio. Continue reading Facebook Announces Three New AI-Powered Portal Devices

Companies Complain to Justice Department About Big Tech

The federal government is listening to complaints about how the major digital platforms exploit their size and the paucity of regulations — and companies are lining up to tell their tales of woe. Yelp public policy chief Luther Lowe says firms that once quietly grumbled are now talking to the Department of Justice about anti-competitive behavior by the big tech companies, all of which vigorously deny the accusations. Two Instagram executives stated that, although some would like to break up social giant Facebook, that won’t help the problem. Continue reading Companies Complain to Justice Department About Big Tech

Facebook May Lead AR Race, Some Already Have Concerns

With augmented reality in its News Feed, Instagram and Messenger, Facebook is well positioned to dominate with the biggest AR platform, based on the Camera Effects Platform debuted at F8 2017. Selfie filters are one of the more popular Facebook applications, and Facebook is now rolling out very different filters for its Instagram platform, which has a bigger focus on brands and personalities. Engineering director in charge of Facebook’s AR project Ficus Kirkpatrick said the company wants “to increase the diversity of AR.” Continue reading Facebook May Lead AR Race, Some Already Have Concerns

Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips

As part of the company’s recent push to develop new hardware, Facebook is reportedly working toward designing its own custom chips to be used in its consumer devices, data centers and AI software. The social media giant is currently developing devices such as smart speakers and VR headsets, and building its own chips could provide more control over design and development of these projects. Facebook’s strategy follows similar approaches by other tech giants, including Google and Apple. Continue reading Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips

Facebook Integrates Social and Utilitarian with New Features

Facebook has a strategy to become more useful in everyday life, combining and improving on the services similar to those from Yelp, Foursquare and others. The added value, says Facebook, would be its network of social connections and businesses. That idea is behind the updates the company is now unveiling, which will allow users to order food from a restaurant’s Facebook page or make an appointment at the beauty salon. Retailers must use third-party services such as Delivery.com, Slice, HomeAdvisory or MyTime for it to work. Continue reading Facebook Integrates Social and Utilitarian with New Features

Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

Yesterday we reported that Facebook is now able to block all ad blockers on its desktop website, sparking a discussion about the ethics of ad blocking. Popular ad-blocking software, Adblock Plus, has since posted instructions online for users to adjust their ad-blocking software by updating their filter lists so they can block Facebook ads again. Meanwhile, Facebook was quick to respond, expressing disappointment that Adblock’s workaround also removes posts from friends and Pages, in addition to ads. Facebook is reportedly rolling out a code update that will counter Adblock’s workaround. Continue reading Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

Facebook Risks Alienating its Users by Blocking Ad Blockers

Facebook is now able to block all ad blockers on its desktop website, enabling advertising to run unimpeded. The move has ignited a firestorm of discussion about the ethics of ad blocking: digital ads are irritating, but they also underpin the business model of the very digital publishers who provide content. Publishers as established as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are struggling with eroding ad sales. Wired, Forbes and NYT have also tried out techniques to counter ad blocking. Continue reading Facebook Risks Alienating its Users by Blocking Ad Blockers