Earlier today, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, confirmed that the future of the social network is privacy. The core app also got redesigned for good measure, and Instagram is getting some major tweaks. Next up, some big news for Facebook’s video calling devices.
The Portal lineup was announced last year with some noteworthy features, like the ability for the camera to track you while you’re in a conversation. However, it did not take long before it was revealed that the video calling device could also be used to target users with even more advertisements. It wouldn’t be until December that the Portal and Portal+ picked up a web browser and “instant games”.
Today, the first day of Facebook’s developers conference, F8, the company announced some big news for the Portal and Portal+. First, the two video calling devices are going international, starting first with an expansion to Canada. Beyond that, beginning in the fall, Facebook says Portal devices will make their way to European shores.
What’s more, Facebook is adding WhatsApp support for Portal and Portal+, and adding end-to-end encryption support for all calls:
“Beginning with an initial expansion from the US to Canada, we’ll also offer the Portal and Portal+ in Europe this fall. We’re bringing WhatsApp to Portal — and we’ll be bringing end-to-end encryption to all calls. You’ll be able to call any of your friends who use WhatsApp — or Messenger — on their Portal, or on their phone.”
Another big addition for Portal goes beyond making calls. Facebook confirmed today that owners will be able to say “Hey Portal, good morning” to get quick updates on any birthdays, events, “and more”. Owners will also be able to send private messages to individuals, and the Amazon Prime Video app is also being added at a later date.
That’s big news for Portal and Portal+. Of course, the big question at this point is whether or not these features will actually get more people to buy the devices.