There are already reports that Facebook is working on an Amazon Echo Show competitor called Aloha. Rumors have that device scheduled for release in May 2018. We also know that Mark Zuckerberg last year offered a demo of his Jarvis virtual assistant prototype. While Zuckerberg stressed the importance of having a text interface, it was also clear that voice would play a role and likely a big one in Aloha. Matt Navarra of The Next Web Tweeted what appears to be real world evidence of a Facebook voice assistant buried inside an iOS version of the company’s app.
Facebook building a voice assistant for its mobile apps ?
h/t Blake Tsuzaki pic.twitter.com/O8qs2ztTUe
— Matt Navarra ⭐️ (@MattNavarra) September 10, 2017
Facebook Voice Assistant Prototype for Mobile
Business Insider has spoken with the engineer, Blake Tsuzaki, that originally found the code in an earlier version of the Facebook app. Mr. Tsuzaki told BI that the voice assistant “is non-functional right now,” but he has figured out ways to get it to perform some functions without throwing errors.
The interface looks a lot like what we’d expect for a prototype of a voice assistant on mobile. It could all be fake news, but seems likely given what our other data points suggest about Facebook’s virtual assistant ambitions.