Facebook Portal Smart Display Updated To Support Games And A Web Browser

Have you been eyeing the Facebook Portal or the larger Portal+? The latest updates for the smart displays may get consumers to bite in spite of mediocre reviews and lingering privacy concerns. Facebook recently added a web browser, news content, and a manual mode to the camera of the Facebook Portal and Portal+.

Most importantly, Facebook has added a web browser to the Portal. One of the biggest complaints aimed at the Portal is its lack of apps and content. Users have enjoyed the device’s video-calling features, but have been unable to access everything that competing devices offer. Facebook recently added a YouTube app to the Portal, but the web browser offers even more options and variety.

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The Portal’s video calling feature has been updated as well. Users are able to manually control the camera’s focus and zoom. This update is particularly relevant because Facebook has primarily advertised the device as a video calling smart display.

The Portal/Portal+ will also include Messenger’s Instant Games like Draw Something, Sudoku, and Words With Friends and news content from ABC News and CNN. The device will offer new Story Time titles for children and seasonal AR effects. Users are now able to share music through iHeartRadio during calls and add nicknames to their contacts like “Mom” or “Darling McSweetie Pie”.

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Facebook’s Portal updates coincide with an apology for invading its users’ privacy. The company announced that a recent error allowed third-party apps to access the photos of nearly 6.8 million users. The bug is believed to have affected 1,500 apps by 876 developers from September 13th-25th, 2018. The third-party apps were not only able to access photos shared on a user’s timeline, but content posted on Facebook Stories and Marketplace. Facebook has apologized to their users and claims that “Early next week we will be rolling out tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug.”

Many consumers have already shied away from the Portal/Portal+ due to privacy concerns. Unless you disable the camera or cover it with a cap, the Portal’s camera is technically always on. Facebook also recently admitted that the Portal’s camera can be used for targeted ads. It remains to be seen whether the Portal’s latest updates will be able overshadowed by Facebook’s ongoing privacy issues.