Companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Amazon all seem to have their own digital assistants. This essentially leaves Facebook as being one of the major tech companies who does not. The company has dabbled in digital assistants in the past with “M”, although earlier this year it was announced that it had been shut down.
However it looks like Facebook could be testing another digital assistant, or at least is working on something similar. This is according to a discovery by research Jane Manchun Wong (via TechCrunch) who has in the past uncovered various upcoming features for Facebook and Instagram.
Dubbed “Aloha”, it appears that this is a speech recognition feature that Facebook is working on. It is unclear as to what the purpose of this feature is, but as TechCrunch notes, a few years ago they were told by sources that Facebook was looking to develop its own speech recognition software to transcribe casual conversations between friends, which tend to feature slang and colloquial terms.
In turn this could allow for more “natural” language processing, versus the formal way we tend to speak to digital assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. It is unclear if Aloha has anything to do with the company’s plans for a smart speaker, a device which Facebook had delayed following its Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal from earlier this year. Either way we’ll just have to wait and see if more details about Aloha will eventually be shared.
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