Facebook’s AI-enabled personal assistant called M which works within the Messenger app is now available to all users in the US. Though M works on similar lines as Google Assistant seen in Allo and Pixel smartphones and is capable of more, right now it can only provide suggestions relevant to the conversation in the messaging app. Users can’t ask questions or chat with it as they can with the Google Assistant in Allo.
M uses machine learning to understand users’ intent in an ongoing conversation and steps in with suggestions of its own when it wants to. For instance, if a user is planning on having lunch with a friend, M can help coordinate a plan by suggesting restaurants in the vicinity.
It also gives sticker suggestions for expressions that people use in their everyday conversations. So instead of just typing a thank you, happy birthday, or bye, you can use emojis or stickers that look a lot lively and exciting.
If a user owes money to someone and that comes in one of the conversations on Messenger, M will suggest Messenger’s phone-to-phone payment service which allows users to send money to a Facebook friend using their debit card on the Messenger app. This feature is currently available only to users in the US.
M also provides cab suggestions from Uber and Lyft if the users are planning to go out. It can also provide location shortcuts to users if one of the friends on Messenger asks for their whereabouts. Users can send the shortcut with the concerned friend right away.
Similarly, M can start a poll in a group chat if the participants are having difficulty on agreeing upon something.
The suggestions feature is just one element of AI-enabled tools like M. These assistants work by creating a virtual image of users based on their searches, chats and questions to provide more accurate answers and suggestions to users.
M will be enabled by default on Messenger app which has had the latest update. However, if users are not comfortable with the assistant listening to conversations all the time, they can also disable it in the app’s settings.