The codenames ‘Aloha’ and ‘Portal’ have been popping up for a few months now, with plenty of speculation about Facebook finding yet another way to extract data on its customers. The latest reports again indicate that 'Portal' refers to a Facebook-built smart speaker and 'Aloha' to Facebook's voice assistant.
According to popular app investigator Jane Manchun Wong, there seems to be some further development in Facebook’s voice interaction ambitions.
Wong discovered a new dictation feature buried inside the Android version of the Facebook app and on the Messenger app.
Facebook Messenger Voice Assistant UI pic.twitter.com/DOMe4Nsg7v
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 21, 2018
According to the screen-recording of the app that Wong shared, Aloha currently only transcribes text, but given that the feature is still under work, we are hoping there is a lot of improvement to be done to the feature. Especially considering how smart the existing smart assistants like Alexa, and Google Assistant, already are. Additionally, Wong also tweeted that the unreleased smart speaker by the company will be paired using Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi.
The availability of these connectivity options could also mean that Facebook may be looking at using Aloha as a cross-platform assistant.