Last year, Facebook brought voice commands to its popular VR headsets like the Oculus Quest 2, allowing users to control their headset with the sound of their voice. This approach was accomplished by double pressing on the Oculus controller button, prompting the device to listen out for commands. Facebook announced in a blog post (via The Verge) today that it’s pulling a Google and introducing a new “Hey Facebook” wake word, making its voice command feature truly hands-free.
Facebook stated in the announcement that users can opt-in to use the new wake word, meaning it’s not mandatory. Those that use it will have to activate it using the Experimental Features setting on the Oculus Quest 2. Once activated, users will no longer have to double-tap on the controller to prompt voice commands, which should make it easier to jump into the best games for Oculus Quest.
Facebook notes that the Oculus Quest 2 will not listen for the wake word if the microphone is off or if the device is asleep or powered down. And for those concerned about privacy should be happy to know that Facebook will allow you to decide whether or not your voice commands are stored. Doing so would potentially help Facebook improve the service.
According to The Verge, the new “Hey Facebook” wake word is also available for Facebook Portal devices. As noted on a support page, Portal owners will be able to select “Hey Facebook” as the wake word instead of “Hey Portal”, although this is not yet available for the Facebook Portal TV.
The new wake word might seem like a random addition, but the brand consistency makes sense given the company’s designs for building a smartwatch and smart glasses. This could very well be the start of a broader Facebook ecosystem.
Facebook states that the new wake word will gradually roll out to the Oculus Quest 2 this week, followed by more Oculus devices at a later date.