Today Facebook announced its beginning a very small roll out of a digital assistant service that will live within Messenger. The service, called M, is capable of completing tasks and finding information upon request.
Facebook’s M calls to mind Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, but what sets M apart is how you interact with it. While Siri and Cortana are built for voice commands, M is designed to be communicated with via text message.
In one of the examples shown, M is asked to recommend an item and then later asked to have it purchased for the user. The whole exchange is completed within Messenger as though chatting with a friend.
M is empowered in a way that sets it apart from other digital assistants. M has the ability to complete tasks such as reserve hotels, make purchases, book flights, recommend things to do, and so on.
Since it is powered by artificial intelligence, which is trained and supervised by people, it’s able to complete requests that require it to think. It’s capable of making personalized recommendations and can even navigate customer service hotlines if that’s what is necessary to complete a task.
M will be available to a “very, very small” number of people in the Bay Area to start, according to a company spokesperson, but the idea is to build it into an at-scale service.
It’s built for both iOS and Android and is said to be slowly rolling out more widely in the coming months.