According to several people familiar with the matter, Facebook Inc is working on the development of a voice assistant that will rival the likes of Apple Inc’s Siri, Alphabet Inc’s Google Assistant, and Amazon.com Inc’s Alexa.
In an e-mailed response to Reuters, a spokesperson from Facebook disclosed: “We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products.”
Earlier in the day, the development was reported by CNBC reported. It said that the team behind the said technology has been contacting some vendors in the smart speaker supply chain.
Reportedly, the tech giant has been working on this new initiative since early last year. The effort is coming out of the augmented reality and virtual reality group of the company, a division that works on hardware, including the Oculus headsets, the company’s virtual reality.
However, it is not yet clear how Facebook exactly envisions people using the assistant, but CNBC reported that it could possibly be used on the Portal video chat smart speakers of the company, the Oculus headsets or some other future projects.
According to two former employees of Facebook who left the firm in recent months, a team that is based out of Redmond, Washington, has been spearheading the effort to build the new AI assistant. The effort is being lead by Ira Snyder, director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant.
According to eMarketer, a research company, Amazon’s Echo is anticipated to capture 63.3 percent of smart speaker users this year, while Google Home will account for approximately 31 percent.