Facebook (you know who they are) is transitioning to a new wake-word for voice control of its Portal and Oculus Quest hardware — “Hey Facebook” is the new phrase that users will utter to summon Mark Zuckerberg’s newest surveillance hardware from its slumber.
Facebook has only made a proper announcement for the Oculus Quest, with the phrase letting you trigger all manner of voice commands for the Quest 2. Later, Facebook intends to bring the functionality to all of its Oculus hardware, which means soon every one of its VR headsets sold will have a mic listening in (and will be connected to your Facebook account — not sinister at all, right?).
Hey Facebook, seriously?
Users of the company’s Portal range of hardware (which you can’t get here in South Africa through any official channels) can choose between ‘Hey Portal’ and ‘Hey Facebook’ in the Portal device’s settings menus. At least, that’s the case according to the company’s Portal support pages.
For now, however, neither Oculus nor Portal have made the feature an essential part of the experience. Well, the Portal has always had voice control but you don’t have to address Facebook directly. The company’s VR headsets will likely transition the feature from ‘experimental’ and opt-in to a full-fledged part of the experience. Which makes a kind of sense — voice control when you can’t see what you’re doing in real life is less arduous than taking the headset off constantly.
But Facebook having yet another avenue of data to siphon doesn’t sit right with us. Not with the company’s less-than-stellar track record. Still, convenience trumps remaining in control of your own information. Right? Right?!