Two former Facebook employees said that efforts to build a new AI assistant has been led by a team in Redmond, Washington and managed by Facebook’s director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant Ira Snyder.
While it is unknown exactly how Facebook would implement voice assistant technology, the report said Facebook has been contacting smart speaker supply chain vendors.
Facebook’s foray into voice assistant technology — and by extension, smart speaker devices comes at a time where Facebook could use some good press.
This especially since Facebook has spent months after months on crisis control over its mismanagement of user data and the fact that it has failed to safeguard its platform from bad actors.
This week, Facebook dropped the price of its video chat device Portal from USD$199 to USD$99 for the next month — not a good sign the company is moving units.
Yet, Facebook still had a banner year in 2018. The company reported USD$16.6 billion in ad revenue, revealing the price of ads decreased by two percent while ad impressions were up 34 percent — proving advertisers were still on board.
The idea that Facebook could marry its precision ad targeting capabilities with the benefits of a voice assistant powered device could have some marketers quite excited may not matter if no one trusts Facebook to sit in their homes via smart speaker.
The case is still out on how marketers will best leverage the smart speaker market, but a report from Adobe in October showed real potential with 47 percent of smart speaker owners using their device within the shopping process.
Although there may be some promise for marketers when it comes to voice assistant smart speakers, Amazon and Google have already dominated that market and there may be no place for Facebook to set up shop in this division.
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