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Privacy and other matters with Facebook's video-call gadget

FILE - This file image provided by Facebook shows the company's product called Portal. It's rare that a new gadget these days serves a true need. Rather, it creates a want. You certainly don’t need the Facebook Portal, whose primary purpose is to let you make video calls through Messenger. But - given you can get past the company’s shoddy record on protecting user privacy, a big if - do you want it? Or one of its would-be rivals from Amazon or Google? (Facebook via AP, File)
December 21, 2018 - 11:35 AM

NEW YORK - There's a new category of home gadgets best described as screens for making video calls, listening to music and responding to voice commands for tasks you can also do on your phone.

Unlike tablets, these microphone- and camera-equipped screens are meant to rest at a fixed location in your living room, kitchen or, gasp, your bedroom.

Facebook's Portal is a great option for video calling. But given the company's shoddy record on user privacy, do you even want one?

There are also some alternatives, from Amazon and Google, but they are not primarily built for video calling. That said, they are better than Portal at the other stuff, like voice-assisted tasks.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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