Rumours indicate that Facebook – the world’s largest social network – is developing an intelligent virtual assistant that will be integrated into the company’s Messenger Platform.
Unveiled earlier this year at Facebook’s F8 Conference, the Messenger Platform represents Facebook’s ongoing development on the Messenger apps key services; which now includes the ability to sending video chats or even money through the app.
The social network’s rumoured virtual assistant will not simply be another Siri or Cortana clone, however – all indications point to the fact that the social network will be looking to intergrate the feedback of real people in its virtual assistant.
The project, which is codenamed Moneypenny (after James Bond’s boss, M.’s assistant) is aimed at assisting interactions between users of the social network and pages/services which advertise on the site.
It is speculated that rather develop a service that resembles Siri, Cortana or Google Now, the company will instead compete with other concierge services including Operator, GoButler and Fetch.
As The Information cites, the virtual assistant would utilise the responses of real people who would seek to provide answers to questions pertaining to the purchasing of products or services.
Facebook employees are alledgedly beta-testing the service at present, with no current indication as to when the service would be launched.
It is possible that the service will ultimately contribute to eventual purchases over the site, similarly to Amazon. The recently introduced ability to send money over Messenger as well as the ability to request order confirmations and shipping updates from retailers in addition to Moneypenny indicate that Facebook is presently seeking to deepen the relationship between itself and potential markets.
Messenger recently hit 700 million active users – only 100 million less than its sibling, WhatsApp, enjoys. With a large user-base, the Messenger Platform seems ideally placed to expand to a wider set of services.