Facebook’s Portal Video-Calling Devices Welcome Several New Features

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Facebook introduced several new features for its Portal video-calling devices, which users should start seeing Tuesday.

Portal owners can now login to their devices via their WhatsApp accounts in order to make video calls and access features including Story Time, meaning Facebook accounts are no longer a requirement for those features.

However, other features on the Portal devices can only be accessed via Facebook accounts.

The new Mic Drop feature on Portal TV enables people to sing along with popular song clips and perform on an augmented reality stage during video calls.

The music catalog for Mic Drop includes the Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry and Coldplay, and AR masks can transform users into music genre characters including punk rockers, hippies and 1980s rock stars.

GIF snapshots of performances can be shared with friends.

Portal TV users also now have access to Photo Booth, which was previously available for the Portal, Portal+ and Portal Mini.

Photo Booth enables people to capture selfies or videos, add effects and share them with friends and family via Messenger.

Video messages can be sent if someone misses a call, and photos from the Superframe feed can be shared via Messenger, as well.

The Watch Together feature, initially available only for Portal TV, was added for Portal, Portal+ and Portal Mini, enabling people to view Facebook Watch fare during calls.

People can now livestream directly to their Facebook profiles from their Portal devices via Facebook Live by opening the Facebook Live app on Portal and enabling its Smart Camera to “be the cinematographer.”

As previously announced, enterprise platform Workplace by Facebook is now integrated with portal devices, and users can access the Workplace on Portal application for features such as chat, video calling and groups.

New stories were added for the devices’ Story Time feature, both classics (Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears) and new (Llama Llama, Pete the Cat and Otto).

Story Time

Finally, Portal owners are gaining access to thousands of shows and movies via new streaming partnerships including Amazon Prime Video (Canada, France, U.K., U.S.), Crave (music, Canada), Deezer (music, podcasts and audio shows, Canada), FandangoNOW (U.S.), France Télévisions (France) and Sling TV (U.S.).

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