Google Now is an amazingly powerful virtual assistant, sharing weather reports, giving us updates on flights, highlighting news that we might be interested in, and much more. Google Now isn’t the only digital assistant on the market, though, and Facebook is the latest company to try and create a new assistant for our lives.
Facebook M is a new virtual assistant that’s a part of the company’s Messenger app. Facebook’s goal with M is for its assistant to become your go-to source for information and help with tasks, even though it’s not built into an OS like Google Now is. How does it plan to do that? Task completion.
M can do things like suggest places to eat, and if you decide that you like what M has suggested, you can have the assistant actually make a reservation. Interestingly, one feature that’s been popular among Facebook testers is M’s ability to call a cable company and wait on hold for you. Facebook M can do this because there are also Facebook employees helping with M and ensuring that tasks get completed. It’s expected that eventually Facebook will have thousands of real people helping M complete tasks.
Right now, Facebook M is in testing with just a few hundred users in the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s no word on when the service will be expanded, but Facebook expects to expand the service slowly and eventually make it available to everyone. So far, Facebook M sounds pretty intriguing, especially since Facebook has real people with customer service backgrounds helping M complete tasks. What will be interesting is seeing if Facebook M can actually catch on without being built into a smartphone OS, and if it does, if Facebook can keep up with it by hiring more reps to aid M.