FACEBOOK HAS brought its 'M' AI assistant to Messenger to rival the likes of Siri and Alexa.
M Suggestions is the starting point and is essentially an ad bot, which highlights features of Facebook as you type. For example, typing "where's that £50 you owe me" would prompt a suggestion to use Facebook Payments, while a "Congratulations" message would generate an appropriate GIF.
Facebook says it will "make your Messenger experience more useful, seamless and delightful".
We say "did you not see the way that Google Allo tanked?"
M Suggestions has launched for US users, with the rest of the world set to follow.
Its capabilities include sending stickers (posh emojis), paying or requesting money, sharing location, coordinating get-together plans, starting a poll in group conversations, and ordering either a Lyft or an Uber depending on how your morality stands.
Facebook's blog explains: "M relies on AI machine learning techniques. It suggests relevant actions to help manage conversations or help get things done. We are bringing the power of M's AI technology to support and enhance the Messenger experience and make it more useful, personal and seamless."
It's turned on by default in iOS and Android apps but can be muted in settings.
Facebook has future plans for M, though is a bit cagey about what they are, saying: "…this is just the beginning for M… expect to see more and more AI-powered, delightful and relevant experiences improving Messenger for you, every day."
There will also be a redesigned message composer in the app with easier manual access to many of the tools that M can help with, via a ‘more' button.
The arrival of M comes as the war of personal assistants enters a new phase, and while M doesn't seem to be marketing itself as an alternative to Alexa or Google Home, if it's anything like the AI aspect in Google Allo, then it's really not a welcome addition for the average user.
There's also very little info on the privacy side of a function that must de facto be mining personal data to provide a service. µ
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