Facebook has introduced an AI virtual assistant into its Messenger app on iOS and Android.
Named M, the assistant works similarly to Apple's Siri, Android's Google Now and Windows' Cortana, and can be accessed if the user was sending a message to one of their friends. M can answer questions – the focus for now seems to be on local recommendations and suggested purchases – and make reservations, set appointments and complete other admin tasks.
The feature is launching in a very limited trial, initially available to "a very, very small number of people in the Bay Area," according to a Facebook spokesperson.
M is designed to grow and become more automated over time, through machine learning. The implication with the limited roll-out – which is only open to a few hundred users to begin with – seems to be that Facebook will scale M's availability, slowly, as the service improves.