Advertisement
The VICE Guide to Right Now

Facebook Is Testing Out a 'Virtual Assistant'

Called "M," the service looks to be halfway between Siri and Microsoft Clippy.

by VICE LA Staff
Aug 26 2015, 10:14pm

Marc Zuckerberg of Facebook. Image via Flickr user Robert Scoble

The Associated Press reports that Facebook is in the process of testing out a virtual assistant service for its Messenger app. Called "M," the AP says the service is now available for a portion of Faceook users.

In a Facebook post announcing the service, the social media giant's Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus wrote:

Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.

In this early form, M sounds like a capitalist spin on Microsoft's Clippit (or Clippy as he's better known as,) that chipper, anthropomorphic paperclip that wanted to know if you needed help writing a letter, formatting a memo, or completing any other number of other Microsoft Office-related tasks. Marcus's post pitches M as a way for "people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what's important in their lives."

Facebook has not yet announced when M will be widely available, but a Wired article notes the social network plans to make M "available to all Facebook Messenger users eventually."

Five In-Depth Stories About Facebook

1. The Internet's Newest Plague: The Cult of Negative Virality
2. Will Tomorrow's Young Politicians Be Doomed By Their Social Media Presences?
3. How I Infiltrated a White Power Facebook Group and Turned It Into "LGBT Southerners for Michelle Obama"
4. Where Does Your Facebook Profile Go When You Die?
5. Inside the Facebook of Sperm Donors

Follow VICE on Twitter.