Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is working on voice-controlled products

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed on Thursday that the company is working on a variety of products that will utilize voice controls.

Zuckerberg discussed upcoming voice-controlled products at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in response to a question about whether Facebook was working on an A.I. voice assistant.

“I imagine there are going to be more products that we build where voice is going to be an important interface over the coming years,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re working on a lot of different things around this.”

Facebook’s Portal video-calling devices, which launched in late 2018, use Amazon’s Alexa as a voice assistant to allow users to make hands-free calls. But the social network is one of the only major players in Silicon Valley that doesn’t have an artificially intelligent voice-controlled helper of its own. Along with Alexa, there’s Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana, to name a few.

In April, CNBC reported that the company was working on its own voice assistant, a project led by its augmented reality and virtual reality group. The company has also invested heavily in artificial intelligence research, including acquiring the A.I. assistant startup Ozlo in 2017.

A Facebook voice assistant could majorly disrupt the ongoing voice battle between major tech firms, especially if it’s included with the company’s app — which is already on billions of phones.

“You can look at where the product road map is likely to go on this, and see why this would be a very useful and an important way where people are going to want to interact with more technology that way,” Zuckerberg said.

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