When the initial sound of Portal finally succumbs down, it’s the timing that will be remembered most. There’s never a great time for a company like Facebook to launch a produce like Portal, but as far as optics vanish, the whole of 2018 probably should have been a write-off.
Our followup headline, “Facebook, are you kidding? ” seems to sum up the fallout nicely.
But the company soldiered on, intentions to launch its in-house equipment make, and insofar as its intents can be regarded as pure, there are certainly worse incentives than the goal of connecting loved ones. That’s a promise video chat engineering makes, and Facebook’s engineering stack extradites it in a compelling way.
Any praise the company might have received for the product’s hanging, nonetheless, quickly made a backseat to another PR dustup. Here’s Recode with another fairly straightforward headline. “It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads.”
In a discussion with TechCrunch this week, Facebook exec Andrew “Boz” Bosworth alleges it was the result of a misunderstanding on the company’s part.
“I wasn’t in the apartment with that, ” Bosworth says, “but what I’m told was that we thought that the question was about ads being acted on Portal. Right now, Facebook ads aren’t being provided on Portal. Undoubtedly, if some other service, like YouTube or something else, is exercising ads, and you’re watching that you’ll have ads on the Portal device. Facebook’s been dishing ads on Portal.”
Facebook is working to draw a line now, looking to distinguish the large-scale request of putting its own microphones and a camera in purchaser living room from high standards sort of data collection that structures the core of much of the site’s monetization model.
“[ T] he thought that’s novel about this machine is the camera and the microphone, ” he clarifies. “That’s a place that we’ve gone overboard on the safety and privacy to make sure shoppers can trust at the electrical level the device is doing merely the matters that they expect.”