Why Facebook’s Creepy Dual Camera Smartwatch Doesn’t Look Like an Overly Lucky Idea
In 2022 we will have a Facebook smart watch. It is what close sources claim to the company who also reveal that this will not be a normal watch, but will integrate a front camera (for video conferencing) and a rear camera that we can use in something like a ‘GoPro mode’ by uncoupling the watch from the strap.
The idea would seem curious if it came from other manufacturers, but Facebook’s scandalous record on privacy makes it inevitable not to raise serious questions about the future of a creepy product that gives a little creep.
At the end of 2018 Facebook gave the surprise and presented Portal, a smart screen that integrated a webcam to facilitate video trust sessions.
The product also arrived in the middle of a privacy crisis that the company suffered after the Cambridge Analytica scandal or your recent security breach in which 50 million Facebook accounts were affected.
The thing changed with the pandemic, which kept us all confined and made video conferencing an absolutely everyday thing: suddenly these devices became a sales success.
The data was curious especially when, despite its promises about privacy protection it had been discovered that some data collected on these devices could be used to show targeted advertising.
The company even had the singular idea of pay 5 dollars to US users who allowed your voice will be recorded and collected on these devices to “train” them. Once again with the tagline that the privacy of those users would be respected, of course.
Relax, those cameras on your wrist are harmless
Now on Facebook they want to go further and jump into the smartwatch segment. The product that has been leaked actually goes beyond the usual, and it has been revealed that it will integrate not one, but two cameras.
The front camera will allow video conferencing directly from the smart watch, something that a priori seems to impose many limitations: neither that camera nor the clock screen will probably be able to offer the same experience that our smartphone can offer. When is it interesting to have that option? When do we go for a run and don’t carry our cell phone?
The rear camera will not be used normally, but Facebook wants to give the option that the watch become a kind of GoPro to use it as an adventure camera with which to take photos and videos of a certain quality.
The idea is reminiscent of the one I raised Google Clips, that small (and also somewhat creepy) camera that allowed to record photos and family moments automatically thanks to the use of artificial intelligence algorithms. The product he died two years later, although your options will continue to work until December 2021.
It does not seem that the approach of the Facebook camera has much to do with artificial intelligence, but in the absence of knowing the real product (if it reaches the market, which it seems that it will), the differential proposal of the watch seems very focused on those two cameras.
Making hardware is nothing (but nothing) easy
Facebook rarely gets it right when it comes to hardware. The HTC First with Facebook Home that already it painted bad ended up painting worse. Was a absolute failure —Almost at the level of desastroso Amazon Fire Phone– and ended up being sold to balance price to relieve bleeding.
As we mentioned, the sales of its smart screens have managed to benefit from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but its scope seems limited. The mysterious ‘Building 8’ in which the takeoff of Facebook was forged in the hardware field – Portal came out of it – has had an erratic history, as pointed out on CNBC.
The only product that has managed to succeed are the virtual reality glasses from Oculus, who have not been exempt from controversy after the changes that force their users to use them with a Facebook account.
What have not stopped are the privacy problems for a Facebook that in April I saw how 533 million accounts were leaked In Internet.
The dispute they have with Apple precisely in the field of privacy is clear, and that may have been one of the triggers of a potential rival to the Apple Watch.
Now it remains to be seen if that dual camera smarwatch project ends up on the market, but a priori the history of Facebook, which not stop to make efforts to collect more and more data of its users, they do not help to think of this as a particularly palatable product.