Apr 6, 2017

Facebook rolls out digital assistant to U.S. Messenger users

Matt Rourke / AP File Photo

Facebook is making M, its digital assistant, available to all Messenger users in the U.S., the company said on Thursday. The assistant will appear as a new feature, called M Suggestions, which will make recommendations based on each user's chats with friends.

M's skills: The assistant can make recommendations like stickers (emoji-like images users can send during a chat), queue up a payment or request for money (which users can do via Messenger), book an Uber or Lyft ride, and start a poll in a group chat (when making plans with friends, for example).

Why it matters: As Facebook continues to invest into Messenger in the hopes of making it a go-to app, adding an artificial intelligence-based assistant could make the app more helpful to users. And in general, artificial intelligence has become an important tech area for Facebook, which has hired dozens of experts who are doing research and working on AI applications for is products.

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