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Facebook Adding Digital Personal Assistant 'M' Inside Its Messenger App

Just like Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft and Google Now, Facebook is harnessing artificial intelligence to bring you your very own digital “personal assistant.” The new service, called “M,” could help plan your next restaurant visit or buy the perfect gift.

In a Facebook post, Facebook Messenger lead David Marcus spoke a bit about Facebook’s plans

Eventually, M would ideally work with minimal human assistance. To get there, Facebook needs time for its M contractors to teach it the best way to solve problems. With a small workforce and small beta, that could take a while. Growing M’s test base and the legions of helpers behind it will cost a ton.

For example, Facebook could establish relationships with certain product or service vendors, earning a cut for making them M’s go-to provider for certain requests. Similar to how Shyp earns money on the difference between the bulk shipping discounts it gets and what it charges users, Facebook could surely find some margin to absorb it if it can power frictionless personal assistant shopping and travel booking.


Facebook (M) header
Facebook (M) header

Unlike Siri, Cortana and Google Now, Facebook’s “M” will be text based and won’t require users to speak commands into their phones. “M” will actually be “trained and supervised by people,” according to Marcus.

For now, “M” is being rolled out to a few hundred people in the San Francisco Bay Area. No word from Facebook yet on when it will be available to other users.

Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now, Microsoft has Cortana and Facebook has M.

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