Don’t get me wrong, competition and variety are great, but does anyone else feel like the digital assistant market is getting a bit too crowded? We have Apple’s Siri, Googe Now, and Microsft’s Cortana, not to mention a handful of products from independent companies, and now even Facebook has its own digital assistant. Known simply as M, this new digital assistant is being tested for use in Facebook’s Messenger app, and it distinguishes itself from the competition by being supervised by humans.
Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now, Microsoft has Cortana, and now Facebook has M. The company revealed its own digital AI assistant on Wednesday, though the Messenger-based service is still in early testing. David Marcus, who runs Facebook Messenger, announced the news in a status update, offering up a brief description and a few screenshots. He notes that while M is based on artificial intelligence, it will be “supervised” by actual humans. Marcus also outlines several ways the new service goes beyond what its current competition can do. For example, M can actually find and buy products for you, or look up information. The service can even book restaurant reservations, travel arrangements and other appointments. You can ask for dining recommendations in a new city, or gift ideas for a friend. After a few taps later, M should have everything taken care of. Facebook’s new service is currently in testing, and it will remain that way before it actually launches at scale. Still, it’s possible M could start popping up on a few lucky people’s smartphones in the very near future.