Facebook has launched M, a virtual assistant found in its messenger app, that will help users complete tasks, like making bookings, finding gifts or completing purchases.
M is Facebook’s answer to Microsoft, Apple and Google’s virtual assistants, Siri, Cortana, and Google Now. The feature has already been rolled out to a few hundred users in the San Francisco Bay area, but there’s no indication when a broader launch might occur. It’s expected to eventually reach every Facebook user, but the rollout will be slow.
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Facebook president of messaging products David Marcus told Wired that users will quickly realise M can do more than standard digital helpers.
It’s a hybrid version of your standard virtual assistant and on-demand startups like Magic.
M uses a combination of artificial intelligence and a host of Facebook employees, “M Trainers” who will ensure every request is answered.
The goal, as Wired’s Jessi Hempel points out, is to make Facebook Messenger the first port of call for mobile discovery.