Sounding like an actor from a James Bond movie, M is set to become Facebook's individual digital assistant, joining the likes of the dominant Google Voice, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri.
M will exist inside Facebook Messenger and purports to take simulated intelligence a notch higher. Rather than just assisting you to create calendar entries or find information, M will supposedly execute tasks on your behalf.
Once launched, M will be capable of booking restaurants for you, purchasing shopping, and other tasks. It will also be possible to use it to seek advice - such as looking for a place to visit close by, or gift proposals and Facebook claims the AI behind M is "trained and supervised by people".
Facebook spokesman David Marcus indicated that the social media network is presently testing M, insisting that things were only at the initial stages. He gave a sample of a few screenshots, all of which reveal M in use on a smartphone, and it's unclear if the service will make its way to the desktop edition of Facebook as well.
Marcus said that, “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.”
He added, “This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service. But it's an exciting step towards enabling 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.”
There's no information on how long it will take before M is officially established, nor confirmation of whether M is a nickname or what it will really end up being named.
Facebook has also not exposed whether there will be an open testing program ahead of the formal launch.
It also remains to be seen if the service can outwit competitors, especially Google’s dominant voice search. Google’s product is leaps and bounds ahead of competitors and already able to answer some of the toughest questions you can throw at it. It seems logical that the features envisioned by Facebook would be the next step for Google and its Android smartphone operating system.