Fresh signs point to Facebook's ongoing work on a voice assistant codenamed Aloha
Apple will likely try to make the HomePod happen again soon, with another tech giant reportedly waiting in the wings for the perfect time to throw its hat in the ring. We’re talking about social networking king Facebook, which may have delayed the official announcement of its first long-rumored smart speaker for fairly obvious reasons.
Fret not, though, as the “Aloha” project is alive and well, based on hard evidence discovered by a young and resourceful developer. Through a little reverse engineering magic, Jane Manchun Wong was able to carry a short conversation with an internal “Aloha Voice Testing” tool.
This is not a particularly knowledgeable voice agent right now, although that might be because access to a complete set of skills is still restricted to Facebook employees. What seems pretty much etched in stone is testing for some sort of a virtual assistant has begun.
Presumably born from the ashes of M, the Facebook Messenger-only AI that made its debut back in 2015, Aloha could provide significantly stiffer competition for the likes of Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant.
That name is obviously not confirmed, and it remains unclear if Facebook has both software and hardware release plans for this “Aloha” voice assistant. For the time being, internal development work appears to target an Android Messenger rollout at the very least.