Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus today announced a new service called M. M is designed to be your personal assistant, which you can use to ask for recommendations such as gift ideas or restaurants to visit when you’re traveling.
Currently in testing, M also helps users send shipments and book appointments. To start, you can message M like you would any other Messenger contact. Give your requests and M will ask followup questions as necessary.
For example, you can ask M to help you plan a surprise birthday dinner and it will help you reserve a table, schedule an Uber and have cupcakes shipped to your party location – all within the app.
The service is similar to what smartphones offer with Siri and Cortana, though offering the service via Messenger means anyone can use it as long as the app is available on their platform. With Messenger Business incorporated, users can also make purchases straight from the app, with M being able to track your purchase statuses and answer any questions along the journey.
M is likely the byproduct of last month’s reports that Facebook was building its own virtual assistant powered “by real people.” It’ll be interesting to see if Facebook takes into account the things you’ve Liked and shared on Facebook (assuming you have it tied to your account) to help recommend gifts to your loved ones.