Facebook is rolling out a handful of new capabilities for its Portal family of devices, the company announced today. First off, as the company had already promised, it's now possible to use Messenger Rooms on Portal devices, enabling calls with up to 50 people at once. AR effects and the Story Time feature also work with Messenger Rooms, and there are new AR effects for calls as well as new Story Time stories available.
Calls, including group calls in Rooms, are getting another new feature in the form of replaceable backgrounds. This sort of feature has become increasingly prominent in video communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, and on Portal, it's possible to either blur out your background or replace it with something different altogether. Some of the offered backgrounds can even be dynamic, changing as time passes. Facebook has also added the ability to share photos from your smartphone during a Messenger call using the Portal app.
Back in December, Facebook added the ability to begin a live stream on Facebook from a personal profile using Portal devices. With today's updates, it's also possible to begin live streaming from a Facebook page or group.
Finally, Facebook is bringing support for the "Hey Portal" activation hotword in British English in the near future. It will also be possible to start WhatsApp calls through the "Hey Portal" commands, though this will only be possible in the United States and Canada.