April 17, 2019 / 7:59 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Facebook working on voice assistant to rival Amazon's Alexa

(Changes source, adds background)

April 17 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is working to develop a voice assistant to rival the likes of Amazon.com Inc's Alexa, Apple Inc's Siri and Alphabet Inc's Google Assistant.

"We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products," a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters in an e-mailed response on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, CNBC reported about the development, saying that the team behind the technology has been contacting vendors in the smart speaker supply chain. However, it remains unclear how exactly Facebook envisions people using the assistant, but it could potentially be used on the company’s Portal video chat smart speakers, the Oculus headsets or other future projects, CNBC reported. According to research firm eMarketer, Amazon's Echo is expected to capture 63.3 percent of smart speaker users in 2019, while Google Home will account for 31 percent. (Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

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