We are all aware of the familiar names. Siri, Cortana, Google Now. But social network giant Facebook believes there is room for one more digital assistant, and this new product launch is the actual fruition of that belief.
Facebook’s digital assistant is called M, and it lives inside Facebook Messenger. For the last couple of weeks M has been in testing internally among Facebook employees. Based on results, M can successully book restaurant reservations, suggest vacation spots and even find birthday gifts for loved ones. The works. But can’t Siri or Google Now do all these things too?
The special ingredient to M, according to Facebook’s VP of messaging products David Marcus, is it’s partially powered by real people. The human element that is missing in other digital assistants, which uses complex AI algorithms to process requests.
After asking M’s artificial intelligence to make a restaurant reservation for a special date, you might be surprised when your date receives a bouquet of roses compliments of the people behind M, called M trainers.
M is Facebook’s one-two counter punch to Apple’s Siri and Google Now, but the reality facing M is that Facebook does not have an operating system of its own. It lives inside Messenger, meaning one needs to fire up the app first before M can start taking in user requests. But with Messenger’s 700 million users, M looks like it’s positioned to put up a good fight.
A fight that, in the end, will greatly benefit users.