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Facebook Announces Testing M – Its Virtual Assistant

By August 28, 2015 June 26th, 2019 No Comments

Facebook Announces Testing M – Its Virtual Assistant 1

Siri is probably at the forefront of the personal assistant race that has caught up with all the major tech giants. Apple may be the early entrant but Google and Microsoft have caught up well with their Google Now and Cortana respectively. According to latest reports Facebook has also taken the leap. The social site is said to be testing its own digital assistant within its product, Messenger. It has been called ‘M’ and is expected to complete tasks for users.

Facebook M vs. Siri, Google Now & Cortana

Facebook announced this week that it is experimenting with a virtual assistant (similar to Siri), known as M. It is a combination of AI and user input. The social network claims that this unique combination will help create an even more powerful assistant than Siri, Google Now or Cortana.

It will provide recommendations for best restaurants and other local businesses and services. But it will go a step further and even make reservations or booking gifts.

Initial Tests

Facebook has currently provided access to M to just a few hundred of its users. These users will be able to find the virtual assistant M in their Messenger. Some of the tests Facebook is going to encourage them to take with M include:

  • Finding birthday gifts
  • Making restaurant reservations
  • Booking getaway destinations

According to Facebook’s vice president, David Marcus, M can do much more than the currently available digital assistants. The social site aims to provide a virtual assistant that will perform online search and deliver the results for anyone looking to buy something or get any information. With Google, this function on mobile is currently limited to having some app installed on the mobile, which puts the search engine at a disadvantage in the mobile domain.

How to Use Facebook M?

Using M is simple:

  • Tap on a button given at the bottom of Messenger and send a note
  • The algorithm decodes the note
  • Users can also send additional queries in the messaging thread

Facebook claims that users will not be able to determine whether a human or system has helped them in the background. Initially, the social site’s goal behind Facebook M is to promote Messenger as the ideal platform for ‘mobile discovery.’ Besides, it wants to capture the intent of its users for what they want to do. According to Marcus, intent is a factor that leads to action and this will open opportunities for the social site to generate revenues.

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