Facebook Assumes the Role of 'Personal Assistant' with the Launch of M

By CIOReview | Monday, August 31, 2015

FREMONT, CA: Dramatically expanding the role of Messenger, social networking site Facebook becomes the latest technology company to offer users a virtual assistant service. Named simply as ‘M’, the latest artificial intelligence-powered Messenger assistant can answer questions and complete tasks.

The project is still under beta-testing by a couple hundred random users in the Bay Area. Following the footsteps of Apple’s Siri, Google Now, or Microsoft’s Cortana, the company provides a significantly unique service since it is partially human powered behind the scenes, leveraging an error free platform.

Now users can ask ’M’ everything ranging from advice on places to go, to make travel arrangements or to find a birthday gift for girlfriend.

It has been designed to be a flexible tool where users just have to tap a small button in the Messenger app to send a note to M. The software will decode the natural language, ask follow-up questions in the message thread, and send updates as the task is completed. All of these without the Messenger social data at risk. Users won’t necessarily know the communication path being provided is a person or a computer; unlike Siri and Cortana, M has no gender.

“It won’t take long for Messenger’s users to realize ‘M’ can accomplish much more than your standard digital helper,” says David Marcus, Vice President, Messaging Products, Facebook. “It can perform tasks that none of the others can,” continues Marcus.