Facebook working on creepy new voice assistant nobody wants or needs

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/17/facebook-working-on-creepy-new.html

Just what we needed, said exactly no one.


It’s Facebook created so the creepy is just baked in.


It might be worth it just to modify to have a “Creepy Uncle” voice.

Millions of Youtube hits.


Great, can i get one and then sit it next to a speaker playing an infinite loop of a toilet flushing?


Must I continue to say “fuck fbook”? Must I…


Every so often a new grad posts to Blind about getting a job offer from FB but they feel hesitant because of all the bad press. Then the FB boys run in full of ego and arrogance to pile onto anyone that questions FB or it’s future. This creepy late to market half-assed attempt is the type of thing they are bloviating about? Dog, I hope they get a late night visit from Karma. Fuck them.


To quote Chamber of Secrets:

Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.


Could this be it, finally? The breaking of the crest of the FB wave? They now have to try to replicate that which they cannot buy outright. Next it will be the FB version of Uber. They’ll keep pumping money into these projects until they’re bankrupt.


No love for Bixby? -jk, I despise all voice assistants equally!


Endlessly, I’m afraid…


I think Alexa is mostly just a cute talking toy. I had a friend who had endless fun asking Siri for a blowjob. But I haven’t yet seen something I could get from Alexa that I couldn’t get without Alexa. Have you?


I love using alexa for a cooking timer, a (non IoT please!) voice feature ovens should have had ten years ago.

But we unplugged alexa after a month or two, it offered my life nothing in return for the high price of the additional surveillance device.


As a new Samsung phone owner, Bixby gets my vote for the most obnoxious “assistant” since Clippy.

You just have to talk to it properly:

Aside from that, the highest function of Alexa is to play college and community radio. As in “Alexa! play WFMU”. It does a surprisingly good job of that.


I hate to pimp any Alexa product, but if you like the timer you might want to look at the clock:

I just got it, mostly out of curiosity, and it indeed displays timers pretty nicely (the edges of the clock light up to show how much time is left in each timer). And it’s a clock that in theory you never have to set. Other than that it’s surprisingly useless, but I guess that functionality is pretty good for $30.

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Since this is a facebook thread I think this monster may be a more fitting obnoxious assistant throwback:

A number of sources identify BonziBUDDY as spyware and adware too. A claim the company disputes. In 2002 an article in Consumer Reports Web Watch labelled BonziBUDDY as spyware, stating that it is a Backdoor Santa in that it collects information from users. Among the activities the program is said to engage in and include resetting the user’s web browser homepage to bonzi[dot com] constantly without the user’s permission, prompting and tracking various information about the user, and serving advertisements.
( https://malware.wikia.org/wiki/BonziBUDDY )


But they’re putting a unique spin on it. Instead of the user saying “hey Siri” or “hey Alexa”, the Facebook voice assistant prefaces every answer with “hey dumbfuck”.


Wait… I can’t see where I keep my brain…

Is samsung still making a physical button launcher for bixby? Its the one thing i hate about my s8+, the bixby launcher button is right underneath the volume rocker button and i push it accidentally multiple times a day.
Android’s settings will not let me remap the button or shut it off.
Third party apps can kind of remap the button but it is clumsy and samsung will disable or trick the apps.
Samsung will allow me to shut off the button, but first i have to sign in with a useless samsung ID, agree to the ToS, and then shut it off within the bixby settings. That is some bullshit right there, all for a piece of crap assistant that is likely nowhere nearly as helpful as androids built in assistant.

Not a fan. Hopefully pixel designs will finally catch up soon.

The only positive I can see from this news is that if people hear that Facebook is interested in building a voice assistant that may be the push some people need to realize that voice assistants must be a tool for creepy surveillance…


It is indeed a retarded design. As are the curved edges in my opinion, I find it impossible to hold the phone without a case and not have my palm touch the edges occasionally. Would be fixable with a setting to ignore presses on those edges but alas.

As far as the dreaded Bixby button, I’m remapping it using the utility Button Mapper Pro, which wasn’t free but is super cheap. With a little futzing it works great, and a short press of the Bixby button is now remapped to “back”, and a long press turns on my flashlight, which is super handy.

Incidentally the ability to turn on the flashlight with a button press whether my phone is asleep or not is one of the reasons I ditched iPhones. After being jailbroken and being able to map a long press of the home button to the flashlight, I couldn’t go back to having to look at my phone every time I wanted to turn on the flashlight, which I do like 20 times a day. And keeping an iPhone jailbroken is a fulltime job these days.

It did indeed break during the last major update, but if I remember right I just had to repeat the remapping process to fix it. Still though, Samsung is hardly willingly letting their users ditch that stupid Bixby monstrosity. I haven’t heard of a single person who uses Bixby, or who doesn’t cringe every time they inadvertently launch it, which is really often given the button’s positioning.

I’d buy a Pixel in a heartbeat if they’d only include a headphone jack. That’s really important to me and is one of the main reasons I ditched iPhones (along with easy access to the flashlight and the fact that they got busted crippling old iPhones). And I have to say having an SD card in my S9+ is kind of awesome. With a 256 gig card I can have my entire music collection in offline form, and unlimited storage for shooting videos.

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