Facebook today announced that M, its AI-powered personal assistant in the mobile Messenger app, is now available to everyone in the United States with a new suggestions feature. Suggestions from M appear when it recognizes intent in a conversation. Initially, M will suggest about half a dozen actions, including getting a ride via Lyft or Uber, paying or requesting money, sending stickers and more. M is launching today to all iOS and Android users in the U.S. and will eventually roll out to other countries.
“M offers suggestions by popping into an open conversation to suggest relevant content and capabilities to enrich the way people communicate and get things done,” Facebook said. They’ve been testing suggestions from M in Messenger with a small percentage of users for the past few months and now the feature is available to all U.S. users.
The following M-powered suggestions are currently available:
- Sending stickers—M shares fun sticker suggestions for your daily life interactions like “Thank you” or “Bye-bye.”
- Paying or requesting money—M recognizes when people are discussing payments and gives them the option of easily sending or requesting money.
- Sharing your location—M can suggest an option to share your location during a conversation.
Making plans: If people are talking about getting together, M helps coordinating a plan.
- Starting a poll—Have a hard time making decisions in a group? M lets you set a poll topic and vote in group conversations. This feature is available in group conversations only.
- Getting a ride—Talking about going somewhere? M suggests “Get A Ride” and shares an option of Lyft or Uber.
As mentioned, M will introduce additional actions in the coming months,
The company is hoping that M will not only save people time by suggesting helpful actions within the context of their chat threads, but also expose features users may not have known were available right in Messenger.
Facebook unveiled its personal assistant more than a year ago, launching the feature as a small AI experiment, powered by humans that could fulfill almost any request. Today’s M is a different beast: it’s now a completely automated feature that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence.
To experience M, chat with a friend or a group on Messenger as you normally would.
The more you use M, the smarter it gets. When the assistant has a suggestion relevant to one of the aforementioned actions, the M logo and the suggestion itself will appear automatically. You can ignore or dismiss a suggestion if it’s not helpful.
Don’y worry, you can mute M’s suggestions at any time in Messenger’s settings.
According to a sketchy rumor by the Israeli outlet The Verified, Siri on iOS 11 will integrate with Apple’s iMessage service and be able to learn from user behaviors within the context of individual apps.
It’s unclear whether these rumored features will replicate functionality provided by Messenger’s M assistant, but we should find out soon enough when Apple shows its cards this June at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.