Facebook is reportedly building a gadget with a camera that plugs into your TV

David Ramos/ Getty Images
  • Facebook is reportedly building a gadget that turns your TV into a video chat device, camera and all.
  • Mysterious references in Facebook’s code and a new report suggest the project is codenamed “Ripley.”
  • The device will essentially be a cross between the recently announced Portal video-chat gadget and Google’s Chromecast dongle – which is to say, it will plug into your TV and play videos for you, as well as let you chat with your friends.

It sounds like Facebook wants to take over your TV.

Last week, reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong found references in Facebook’s code to a mysterious “Ripley” device – and on Tuesday, Cheddar reported that the company is planning a camera device that will plug into customers’ television sets.

The report comes after Facebook unveiled the Portal, a video-chat device that people can use to talk with their Facebook friends, and doubles up as an Amazon Alexa-powered smart speaker. “Ripley” sounds like a cross between the Portal and the Chromecast: It will turn your TV into a giant-sized screen for video chatting and playing videos from the web.

According to Cheddar’s sources, Facebook intends to announce it “in the spring of 2019.” A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

The announcement of Portal comes as Facebook weathers a string of scandals, most recently a hack that exposed the personal data of 30 million users.

It remains unclear, given Facebook’s numerous missteps, whether consumers will be willing to trust Facebook to put an always-on microphone and camera in their homes – but the existence of the “Ripley” project suggests Facebook only intends to double down on the strategy from here.

Do you work at Facebook? Got a tip?Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at [email protected], WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

Now read:

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.