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Facebook pushes 'Hey Facebook' voice recognition to Oculus Quest, Portal displays

Facebook on Thursday announced a new Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and Portal smart display feature that enables owners to wake their devices with the phrase "Hey Facebook," closely following in the footsteps of virtual assistant software marketed by Apple, Google and Amazon.

The wake word is new for Oculus and lets users access Voice Commands without selecting the option from the device home menu or controller. "Hey Facebook" compatibility will hit Quest 2 first before rolling out to all Quest hardware.

Oculus makes clear that "Hey Facebook" is an optional feature and notes the Quest 2 does not listen for the wake word when its microphone is turned off. This suggests the headset is monitoring audio when its microphone is enabled.

As noted by The Verge, Facebook has also updated Portal devices to use "Hey Facebook" as an alternative to the existing "Hey Portal" command.

Facebook's voice commands are rudimentary, with users limited to basic functionality like capturing screenshots, opening content and viewing friend lists. Technology developed by Apple, Google and Amazon is much more advanced and can handle anything from internet or database queries to completing complex on-device tasks.

Like other Facebook products and features, "Hey Facebook" will likely be scrutinized as the company's invasive data collection policies are infamous among tech firms. Facebook says Portal will listen for the wake word and, when detected, will start to record, transcribe and send voice interactions to its servers. Whether wake word processing is accomplished on device — like Siri — is unknown.