CONTINUING ITS FINE run of form in the field of hardware that nobody asked for, Facebook is reportedly planning its own camera-toting TV hardware.
Sources “familiar with the matter” told Cheddar that the company is planning a device – codenamed Ripley – that will sit atop the television and provide video calling, along with access to Facebook Video and the like.
If this all sounds a bit familiar, it’s because it apparently uses the same technology as the recently announced Portal video chat device. What little enthusiasm there was for the hardware lasted just nine days, at which point Facebook revealed that the device will collect information on you in exactly the same way its main product does.
As it’s connected to the TV, though, Ripley could be a slightly more appealing proposition. With the right partners, it could be a rival for Apple TV, Roku or Amazon with streaming video as well as calls – although all of this just provides extra data for Facebook to slurp up. It’s bad enough Netflix knowing just how many times you’ve watched Bee Movie – do you want Mark Zuckerberg knowing too? You’ll be up to your neck in adverts for bee-related merch on Instagram before you know it.
This is a real problem Facebook has – objectively, people have just as much reason to fear Google or Amazon eavesdropping on everything they do, it’s just that both are better at keeping a lid on the real howlers. Facebook’s reputation still hasn’t entirely recovered from that whole Cambridge Analytica snafu, and just last month it let slip that 50 million accounts (later revised to ‘just’ 30 million) may have been compromised. It’s not an operation that smacks of competence when it comes to dealing with the vast amounts of data it has on its two billion users.
Most people accept – or are at least resigned to – that in free services like Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Would they pay good money for hardware to do the same thing with limited extra benefits? Colour us very sceptical indeed. µ
Source : Inquirer