Facebook developing the voice assistant no one asked for

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Facebook is continuing to build out new technology that promises to extend its reach and capabilities well beyond the main blue app with its simple, scrollable News Feed, with latest effort along these lines being a Siri- and Alexa-like voice assistant the social network is trying to develop.

That news comes via a new CNBC report, which includes details from several people familiar with the project that’s been under way since early last year.

Facebook has arguably gone down this road before, or at least a version of it, with its now-defunct ambition to imbue the company’s standalone Messenger app with an AI-based digital assistant called M. That effort never really picked up any steam and was abandoned completely last year.

It’s not clear yet what this new assistant would be called or how it would work, but the report today speculates that it would be a way to control Facebook’s Portal video chat speakers as well as its Oculus virtual reality headsets. Both of which, of course, are still more examples of how expansive the company’s ambitions have grown beyond mere social networking, now extending into hardware and the physical world of consumer electronics.

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