Facebook Explores Voice Testing With Aloha Voice Assistant!

By Liam Roate — Published August 22, 2018

Facebook Explores Voice Testing With Aloha Voice Assistant!

With so much skepticism over the longevity of Facebook, it seems as if the social media platform is again trying to test speech recognition. As of yet, Facebook has no voice assistant and rumors of a smart speaker being in development are resurfacing.

It is no news to us that most major mobile hardware businesses now have their own voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant to name but a few. What's more, it is no surprise that Zuckerberg has caught on to the immense success of speakers like Amazon Echoes that succeed in keeping users tied to their network.  

App researcher Jane Manchun Wong has recently discovered code inside the main Facebook app as well as the Messenger app for a voice assistant named Aloha. The interface is tagged as "Aloha Voice Testing" and features a blue icon previously linked to Facebook's outdated 'M' virtual assistant. For now, all Aloha seems to do is transcribe text from speech, however, Facebook must ensure it masters this stage before moving onto developing the digital assistant side of Aloha.

According to a report by TechCrunch, Aloha will work as follows: "a user speaks while in a message thread, a horizontal blue bar expands and contracts to visualize the volume of speech while recognizing and transcribing into text. The code describes the feature as having connections with external Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices. It’s possible that the software will run on both Facebook’s hardware and software, similar to Google Assistant that runs both on phones and Google Home speakers."

Facebook is yet to release a statement outlining exactly what Aloha will be however we are still able to speculate. Statements in the past have been released that outline an interest in analyzing the way friends interact with each other in real time. In reality, these speech patterns are much more casual than the way that computerized voice assistants like Alexa are addressed. Therefore, there is a chance that one of the aims of Aloha is to provide users with the opportunity to dictate comments or messages when they can't get to a screen. What's more, Aloha could also be used as a way to navigate Facebook apps hands-free as well as providing users with easier video chat. Finally, it could also be a way to connect with other voice ecosystems in the way that Amazon uses Alexa Skills.

It is still unclear exactly what Facebook's voice assistant/ recognition will be and exactly what the Aloha will become. However, with so much hype surrounding the Facebook's privacy issues, it will need to develop something pretty impressive in order to keep potential customers from gravitating towards their competitors.

For now, it's undoubtedly intriguing to see that Facebook is working on a voice-related tool and we're excited to say Aloha to Aloha (whenever that may be).


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