Chances are you’re probably familiar with using a command like, “OK Google,” “Hey Siri,” or “Alexa” to summon a voice assistant. But now, the company that brought you pokes and likes — and who could forget fake news? — is trying to add, “Hey Facebook” to your…
Chances are youre probably familiar with using a command like, OK Google, Hey Siri, or Alexa to summon a voice assistant. But now, the company that brought you pokes and likes and who could forget fake news? is trying to add, Hey Facebook to your rotation.
Facebooks new vocal command officially rolled out today with the companys announcement that its introducing Hey Facebook as an opt-in wake phrase on the Oculus Quest 2 to help deliver a more seamless hands-free VR experience.
However, as The Verge discovered, the Hey Facebook command can now also be used with Facebooks Portal devices instead of the existing Hey Portal wake phrase to ask questions or perform functions like starting a video call.
Now on a certain level, as we continue moving into this era of ambient computing where you dont have to be sitting in front of a monitor and keyboard to actually use a computer, the addition of another wake phrase to everyday use shouldnt come as a big surprise.
However, theres something that just feels off about Hey Facebook, and after ruminating on it a bit, I think Ive figured out why. The difference between Hey Facebook and other voice command triggers is that when you are directing a question to Siri or Alexa, you are directing your request to a specific entity, which in this case is an AI-powered digital assistant. And even though, OK Google would seem to be the same as Hey Facebook, Google has always made it clear that you are talking to the Google Assistant, not the company itself. (For what its worth, I still think the Google Assistant badly needs some kind of normal, human name.)
But with Facebook, there is no assistant or AI to speak. Facebook killed its previous assistant M, so with Hey Facebook, it feels like you are calling out to the faceless company that reminds people when your birthday is and keeps tabs on unspecified amounts of personal data. In the same fashion, Hey Facebook is also different from saying Hey Portal, which inherently refers to a specific device in your home. Hey Facebook just doesnt feel the same.
So while saying Hey Facebook is extremely weird, that wont stop Facebook from pushing its new wake phrase instead of alternatives like Hey Portal or even Hey Oculus. Facebook usually gets what it wants, even if its something no one else is on board with.