The Big Read: The Master of Destruction Rides AgainRead more

Art by Mike Sullivan

Facebook Kills ‘Hey Facebook’ Voice Command for Portal Amid Customer ‘Confusion’

Photo: Art by Mike Sullivan

Facebook has quietly abandoned the phrase “Hey Facebook” as a way for customers of its Portal video-chat device to start a conversation with a voice-activated virtual “AI assistant,” according to an internal memo viewed by The Information. The shift came after customers indicated they were confused by the phrase “Hey Facebook” and it was hurting usage of the device.

The team involved with the device determined that before the company expands the virtual assistant to other apps including WhatsApp and Instagram, it needed to find a new “brand” for the assistant that doesn’t only evoke the Facebook app. News of the change of heart coincides with a report by The Verge Tuesday night that Facebook plans to change its corporate name. Both decisions appear motivated by Facebook’s desire to convey that its company is much bigger than just the Facebook app, which has generated a long series of scandals.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Microsoft's Satya Nadella, left, and Peter Lee. Photo by Bloomberg, Microsoft
How Microsoft Swallowed Its Pride to Make a Massive Bet on OpenAI
Satya Nadella didn’t want to hear it. Last December, Peter Lee, who oversees Microsoft’s sprawling research efforts, was briefing Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, and his deputies about a series of tests Microsoft had conducted of GPT-4, the then-unreleased new artificial intelligence large-language model built by OpenAI.
Art by Clark Miller
The AI Age e-commerce ai
How to Grease a Chatbot: E-Commerce Companies Seek a Backdoor Into AI Responses
When Andy Wilson’s company received its first successful client referral through ChatGPT, he was shaken to his core.
Chris Britt, co-founder and CEO of Chime.
Exclusive startups Finance
Chime’s Slowdown Highlights Limits of Bank Disruptors
Chime found a way to offer zero-fee banking services without being a bank itself. But that approach is starting to show its limits.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read markets Finance
The Master of Destruction Rides Again
In the spring of 2022, the irascible Wall Street short seller Marc Cohodes was in a particularly foul mood.
Art by Mike Sullivan
startups asia
Venture Capitalists Face Pressure to Divest From China
Silicon Valley venture capitalists are coming to terms with a new reality: Their once-prized China investments may be victims of a simmering cold war.
Chart by Mike Sullivan.
Data Point enterprise
Enterprise Software’s Laggards: Firms Growing Slowly And Still Burning Cash
It’s the age-old refrain in American business: You have to spend money to make money. And it’s particularly true of the tech industry, where startups pour millions into untested new businesses and technologies.