Facebook Portal update adds web browser, games, and manual camera controls

Facebook's Portal is a surprisingly solid entry in the smart display market, and today, a new update is rolling out that adds a lot of new features for both video calling and video content.

Starting first with the content side of things, you can now access ABC News and CNN as additional news sources, in addition to CNN brand Great Big Story that offers "a library of compelling human interest stories." Even more exciting is the new web browser that allows you to do things like watch YouTube videos, tune into ESPN, and more.

Something else Facebook's adding is "Instant Games." These games are both free-to-play and ad-free and the initial collection of titles includes the following:

  • Battleship
  • Disney Tsum Tsum
  • Draw Something
  • Shake It Up-Poker Dice
  • Sudoku
  • SuperBaseball
  • Words With Friends

Video calling is the Portal's biggest strength, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that that's also a big focus with the new software. The biggest video calling update is support for a manual mode that allows users to manually control what the camera sees and what it should focus on. This even allows you to manually zoom in and out on something in the frame with whoever you're talking to.

Facebook's also added two new Story Time titles, winter-themed AR effects, support for iHeartRadio with Portal's in-call music sharing feature, and the ability to call people by their nicknames (e.g. "call Mom" or "call my husband) based on your relationship with them on Facebook.

All of this is rolling out to the Portal and Portal+ starting today.

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.