Back in July we reported that Facebook Messenger was set to get its own virtual digital assistant, codenamed Moneypenny. Now it is official, and is formally dubbed Facebook M.

Facebook’s David Marcus calls M a “personal digital assistant inside of Messenger”, and we have to admit the idea of baking a digital assistant into a messaging platform is intriguing. But what exactly does M do? Instead of putting an emphasis on productivity and information retrieval, M doesn’t just have the power to complete tasks and find info — it can also “ purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.” Facebook M is powered by artificial intelligence like any other digital assistant on the market, but differs in the fact that it is also “trained and supervised” by real people.

There’s still a few unknowns about how Facebook M will work, especially the parts where it buys things in your behalf. That said, an article from Wired does shed a bit more light about the assistant. First, interactions will reportedly occur in a similar fashion to a normal conversation in Messenger, and that service will simply respond to commands or make suggestions based on questions it asks you, etc.

While Facebook no doubt has grand plans for its messenger-powered assistant, for now M is being tested out to a small number of people in the San Francisco area. It remains unseen how Facebook fans will react to the service, and we imagine the idea of an assistant that can buy, send gifts, and other more personal tasks might raise a few eyebrows from the security conscientious individuals.

What do you think of the idea of Facebook M? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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