Facebook Portal (also known as Meta Portal) is a smart display and videophone brand launched by Facebook Inc. in 2018. (now named Meta Platforms).
The Portal, Portal+, Portal TV, and Portal Go versions offer video chat through Messenger and WhatsApp, and are complemented with a camera that can automatically zoom and track people’s motions.
Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service, is included into the gadgets.
Meta targets advertisements based on data received from Portal devices. Reviewers praised the Portal line’s video and audio processing capabilities while criticising Facebook’s privacy rules for commercial usage of data gathered by Portal devices.
Facebook Portal, Portal+, and Portal TV are three variants of a video communication device meant to make it simpler to interact with friends and family.
These are essentially video-calling gadgets that use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to call or chat friends, family and coworkers.
What is Facebook Portal?
Facebook Portal is a Facebook video communication technology.
These gadgets, with the exception of Facebook TV, are smart screens comparable to the Amazon Echo Show.
These are gadgets designed to look like digital photo frames and to sit peacefully in your house as a beautiful and intelligent display until it is time to place or receive a call.
The emphasis of these gadgets is on video calling and “placing people at the centre.”
Facebook hopes that the Portal line of smart screens will make it easier to connect with more people in your life.
There are now four different Facebook Portal models: Facebook Portal Mini, Portal, and Portal+ all function on the same basic premise.
They have distinct design styles, but they are both centred on video chatting and are intended to make you feel as if you are in the same room as the person on the other end of the call.
Portal TV is a unique technology that transforms any TV into a large video calling screen.
As previously stated, calls may also be made over Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, so end-to-end encryption is a possibility.
How does Facebook Portal work?
Here are some of the main features of Facebook Portal:
Smart Camera and Smart Sound
All Facebook Portal devices include “Smart Camera and Smart Sound” technology driven by AI.
This technology allows the cameras to recognise individuals and then follow them around the room, pan and zoom automatically, while also reducing background noise and boosting the sound of whoever is calling.
It’s actually rather ingenious.
With a built-in wide-angle lens, the Portal devices can detect many persons in the room and follow their movements. This has been demonstrated with Portal TV and Portal+, and it is really stunning.
According to the firm, it collaborated closely with expert cinematographers to ensure that the panning and tracking are seamless and not too quick or jarring.
It’s also intended to only recognise people and not track pets, so a dog or cat walking into the room won’t disrupt the conversation.
However, the business quickly clarified that the cameras only recognise persons in the room, not specific people.
There is no information shared to Facebook about who is on the call.
Facebook Portal is also equipped with advanced microphone technology, such as beamforming, to monitor who is speaking while reducing ambient and background noise on the call.
On Facebook Portal TV, this includes up to eight microphones, allowing you to simply communicate with your complete family while making a video call.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
You may call your Facebook friends and Messenger connections, as well as WhatsApp contacts, even if they don’t have a Portal.
Calls to and from phones and tablets are possible, and Portal offers group calls of up to seven individuals at the same time.
When you’re not on the phone, Portal can show you your photos and videos, when your contacts are available to connect, birthday reminders, and so on.
Portal may now have video calls with up to 50 people using Facebook Messenger Rooms.
With so many individuals, you’ll also be in a good position to learn that you may now blur your backdrop or replace it with a pre-selected image.
Facebook has been attempting to enhance Portal by making it simpler to communicate with individuals across platforms.
To help users keep in touch with more individuals, the firm has worked with BlueJeans, GoToMeeting Webex, and Zoom.
Facebook Portal is now operational.
In addition to using Portal for video chats, the different devices may now be used for online broadcasting.
You may start a stream to your personal profile, Facebook sites, or groups using the Facebook Live app on the Portal device.
This is certainly a good simple approach to stream to your audience or to your family and friends via Facebook.
Alexa and voice control
Facebook Portal devices include Amazon Alexa functionality as standard, allowing you to view movies, make calls, and do other things using voice commands.
In actuality, this integration isn’t functioning all that well right now, but Facebook claims it’s working on it.
You may ask it to check the weather, operate smart home gadgets, purchase groceries, and do a variety of other things.
Check out our separate piece for additional information on how Alexa works and a list of things you can do with it.
For Brits and Americans, the command is simply “Hey Portal” – you may then follow up with a range of instructions, including:
- “Hey Portal, call [contact name].”
- “Hey Portal, play [song title].”
- “Hey Portal, turn up the volume.”
- “Hey Portal, set a timer for [date and time].”
- “Hey Portal, wake me up at [time and date].”
- “Hey Portal, what’s the weather like in [location]?”
- And more
AR effects and Story Time
Facebook has used its Spark platform to power augmented reality effects.
The goal is to make phone calls enjoyable and participatory.
This function, similar to Snapchat lenses, allows you to put AR stickers to your face and surroundings to enhance how things seem.
A Story Time experience operates in a similar way to add a fresh twist to remotely reading a bedtime story.
At the moment, Story Time offers a variety of stories, with more on the way.
Apps and integrations
Facebook Portal smart gadgets, like most smart home devices, offer a slew of applications and connections.
Facebook has partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Food Network, and Newsy, with more to come.
The tablet also has Facebook Watch, which can be used to watch your videos and Facebook videos with other individuals on the call.
Portal Go and the New Portal+
Portal Go encapsulates the best of Portal Smart Camera video calling in a new, portable package.
While video chatting is Portal’s major draw, there are other services to enjoy throughout the day.
Get into a groove with your favourite music from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and other services, and experience rich high-fidelity sound on Portal whenever you start your favourite playlist.
Portal also works well as a digital photo frame.
You may show off your favourite Facebook and Instagram photographs, as well as photos from your phone’s camera roll.
You may also exhibit and share your best memories with friends and family through shared albums.
Portal Means Business
With remote work becoming a viable long-term strategy, distributed teams can profit from the illusion of being in the same room.
So we’re reinventing how Portal is used at work — both at home and in the workplace — by enabling collaboration in the places where business gets done.
Beginning in December, we will provide Microsoft Teams functionality for all Portal touch-based devices, including Portal Go and Portal+.
You’ll have everything you need to keep your work rhythm going with tools like calendar, contacts, file sharing, and chat on a dedicated device for Teams. In addition, Microsoft security is embedded into Teams, using Microsoft Intune app protection.
We’re also announcing Portal for Business, a new service that allows small and medium-sized businesses to take use of Portal’s video calling and collaboration functions by effortlessly deploying and maintaining Portal devices.
SMBs will be able to create and administer Facebook Work Accounts for their staff using Portal for Business.
This is a new Portal account type that will be accessible for various Facebook work products throughout the next year.
Portal Device Manager allows businesses to manage devices that have been configured by employees with Portal for Business access. It simplifies the deployment and management of Portal devices by allowing you to control Work Accounts, manage device settings, see device status, and reboot or factory reset these devices remotely, regardless of where your workforce is situated.
In the United States, Portal for Business is presently in closed beta. If you want to learn more about Portal for Business or join our early access programme, go to portal.facebook.com/business.
How to Use Facebook Portal
- Take out the Facebook Portal.
- Plug the power cable into an outlet and insert it into the rear of the Portal.
- After the Portal has started, choose the language you want to use.
- Choose your Wi-Fi network and type in your password.
- Once connected to your network, the Portal will immediately download and install the newest update. You can take a virtual tour of the gadget at this time.
- Once the update has been downloaded, the Portal will prompt you to restart it.
- After the Portal has been relaunched, click Continue to accept the terms of service.
- Give your Portal a unique name. You can choose from the menu or enter your own name.
- Log in with your Facebook account. A code will show on the Portal’s screen. Go to www.facebook.com/device on your computer or smartphone and input the code to login to your Facebook account. You may also input your Facebook password directly on the Portal. If you successfully link your account, a screen verifying this should display. To proceed, click Next.
- Sign in to your WhatsApp account (optional). If you connect your WhatsApp account to the Portal, a QR code will be shown on the Portal’s screen. Open the WhatsApp app on your smartphone; on iPhones, click to Settings; on Android phones, go to conversations and tap the three vertical dots. Next, pick WhatsApp Web and raise your smartphone’s camera to read the QR code.
- Choose your preferred contacts. These are the profiles that will always be accessible, allowing you to call them more simply from the Portal.
- Select whether or not to conceal contacts (optional). If you don’t want all of your contacts to be visible on the Portal, you can conceal them.
- The Portal’s camera may then latch on to your face and digitally zoom and pan to keep you in the picture as you wander about the room. If you choose, you may skip this step.
- Link Pandora and Spotify. You may link your accounts with one of these music streaming providers to the Portal. Choose “connect” next to the service that you want to utilise.
- To utilise the Portal as a digital photo frame, go to the next screen and click Preview Facebook Photos, then Add Facebook Photos. You have the option of displaying specific Facebook albums. You may later connect your Instagram account to display photographs from there as well.
- If you wish to add photographs straight from your phone, choose Get Portal App. This will necessitate the installation of a different app on your smartphone.
- If you have an Alexa account and wish to utilise it on the Portal, connect it. We advocate utilising Alexa instead of the Portal’s internal speech assistant because Alexa is significantly more competent.
- Press the Next button to utilise the “Hey Portal” trigger to start video calls.
- Finally, enable the Portal to save your “Hey Portal” speech recordings so that Facebook may listen to them and enhance its voice-recognition capabilities. This is optional, and even if you consent to it during the setup process, you may turn it off at any moment and delete all of your recordings.
- Your Facebook Portal should be up and running right now. The main home screen should show your favourite contacts as well as those you’ve recently phoned. Swiping to the left reveals all of your installed applications, Contacts, and Settings.
Is Facebook Portal safe?
No internet-connected gadget is immune to a hack or breach, yet considering Facebook’s past issues, the corporation is anxious to emphasise that all Portal devices are “private by design.”
Simply clicking a button will turn off the camera and microphone.
On the Portal frames, there is a switch that allows you to turn off the camera, microphone, or both, depending on your needs.
There is a physical camera cover that can be pulled off by pressing this button, but the hardware also includes a physical switch that disables the microphones.
Even if they’ve been hacked, they can’t capture audio if this switch is turned on.
You can also configure a four- to 12-digit passcode to keep the screen locked to manage Portal access within your house.
Facebook also stated that it will not listen to, see, or store the contents of your Portal video conversations, and that video calls will be encrypted.
Furthermore, the AI technology in the Smart Camera and Smart Sound runs locally on Portal rather than on Facebook servers.
Portal’s camera does not employ facial recognition, and you can always remove your Portal’s speech history from your Facebook Activity Log.
Despite the fact that Facebook employees listened to Messenger clips, Facebook is quick to remind out that if you don’t want your data captured, you can opt out of data gathering and modify your privacy settings.
Facebook Portal Reviews
Because of its high quality, the screen is certainly the greatest we’ve seen on any smart display.
Its 2,160 by 1,440-pixel resolution is significantly superior to the 10-inch, 1,280-by-800-pixel panels on the Echo Show 10 and Nest Hub Max.
It’s bright and vibrant, and it’s really easy to read.
Facebook Portal Alternatives
- Pixel by Google.
- HereO Watch.
- Google Home.
- The Meeting Owl.
How does the Facebook Portal system work?
All Facebook Portal devices include “Smart Camera and Smart Sound” technology driven by AI.
technology allows the cameras to recognise individuals and then follow them around the room, pan and zoom automatically, while also reducing background noise and boosting the sound of whoever is calling.
What does Facebook Portal mini do?
You may easily video call friends and family who don’t have Portal by using your Messenger or WhatsApp account. Follow along with the action. Smart Camera pans and zooms automatically, keeping everyone in picture while you move and speak freely. Listen and be heard.
Facebook Portal apps are how many?
Installing applications and websites adds functionality to the Portal; presently, just 12 apps are accessible, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, FB Gaming, ABC News Live, Food Network, Story Time, and a web browser.
Is Portal from Facebook any good?
Facebook’s Portal smart screens are effective but inconsistent communication tools:
They have good cameras and support leading videoconferencing systems, but you can’t use them to make phone calls and certain apps are integrated in inconvenient ways.
What can Facebook Portal TV do?
You can use Portal TV to make or receive video calls from anyone who possesses a Portal device or a smart device capable of making or receiving video calls via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
In today’s atmosphere, it’s an excellent method to stay in touch with loved ones from the comfort and security of your living room.
What can you do with Facebook Portal Go?
The Portal Go supports video conversations via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Zoom, as well as video conferencing via BlueJeans, Facebook Workplace, GoToMeeting, and WebEx. The widespread use of professional videoconferencing solutions helps to alleviate the sting of the absence of Google Meet or Skype.
Can I watch Netflix on Facebook Portal Plus?
The Facebook Portal TV app gives you access to Netflix’s complete catalogue of episodes and movies. The Netflix app is only accessible on Portal TV and is not compatible with Portal, Portal Mini, or Portal+ devices.
How much is Facebook portal?
There is no monthly subscription; Portal only has to be linked to a Wi-Fi network and have access to AC power.
Is Facebook Portal vs echo show?
For starters, it is around $50 less expensive than the Echo Show. Second, it boasts a more powerful camera with 13 MP against 6.5 MP on the Echo Show. The Portal also has a slightly larger display (10.1 inches) than the Echo Show. It also features a storytime mode, which the Echo Show does not have.