'Hey Facebook' sets the company on a potential collision course with Siri
Facebook wants its own voice assistant for its devices.
What you need to know
- Facebook is making “Hey Facebook” a wake word for its Oculus and Portal devices.
- It’s unclear if the company will expand the feature to its social app as well.
Facebook is starting to make its way into the world of voice assistants, potentially setting itself on a path that collides with other assistants like Siri, Google, and Alexa.
But today we’re making it easier to access Voice Commands on-the-fly, adding an optional “Hey Facebook” wake word to Quest 2, with plans to release it to all Quest devices in the future. Our goal is to make Voice Commands a truly hands-free experience—and make it easier to take screenshots, cast, group up with your friends, and more. Record your favorite moments in Myst without leaving the island, start casting Beat Saber to your friends without dropping your combo, or launch right into a new game without digging through your library.
The company says that they will eventually roll out the experience to all versions of the Quest virtual reality headsets. If users do not currently have the option available to them, they should be able to find it under the Experimental Features settings. Importantly, the headset will not listen for the wake word when the microphone is turned off, the headset is asleep, or if it is turned off. They are also careful to say that “Hey Facebook” is an opt-in experience that can also be reverted if the user does not want the option anymore.
You also have control over whether your voice commands are stored and potentially used to make the feature better. You can easily view, hear, and delete your voice commands activity at any time or even turn off voice storage in your Settings, while still taking advantage of the Voice Commands feature. It’s our responsibility to protect your privacy, and you can learn more about how we do that here.
The company only formally announced it was gradually rolling out to Quest headsets, but its Portal support page now lists “Hey Facebook” as an alternative to “Hey Portal.” A look through the Wayback Machine shows it used to only list “Hey Portal” as recently as February 5th, 2021.
Facebook has not yet indicated if the “Hey Facebook” command could come to other services like its iOS app or other apps that exist under the company’s umbrella like Instagram and WhatsApp. Only time will tell where the feature goes and if it will attempt to compete with other voice assistants.