August 27, 2015
Facebook is testing a digital assistant — M — to challenge Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.
While the rumors were true that its name was inspired by a James Bond character, it turns out the assistant is named after 007’s boss, M, rather than secretary Monneypenny as originally thought.
M will complete tasks for Facebook Messenger users as well as link users with real people to help them research and purchase products or services.
M is “powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people,” Facebook head of messaging David Marcus wrote in a post.
“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.”
M still has a long way to go before becoming an “at-scale service,” but it does enable Messenger users to “get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what’s important in their lives,” Marcus said.
Facebook has made it pretty obvious that it sees Messenger as something worth investing time, effort and money in. The social media site announced in June that it had surpassed one billion downloads of the app from the Google Play Store.
Messenger is a free stand-alone mobile app that enables users to text friends for free using their existing data plan and reach friends on their phones and the Web. The app also allows users to start group conversations, share photos and include friends of friends in conversations.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.