Facebook Messenger Users Are About to Start Seeing Suggestions From M

The AI-powered assistant makes suggestions during users’ conversation on actions they should take

Remember M, the virtual digital assistant for Messenger that Facebook began testing in August 2015? Now it’s here—sort of.

Messenger product managers Laurent Landowski and Kemal El Moujahid announced the launch of suggestions from M to all iOS and Android users in the U.S., with other countries to be added “eventually.”

The artificial-intelligence-powered assistant makes suggestions during users’ conversation on actions they should take, with Landowski and El Moujahid providing the following examples:

  • 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 with coordinating a plan.
  • Starting a poll (in group conversations only): Have a hard time making decisions in a group? M lets you set a poll topic and vote in group conversations.
  • Getting a ride: Talking about going somewhere? M suggests, “Get a Ride,” and shares an option of Lyft or Uber.

The two product managers added:

M relies on AI machine learning techniques. It suggests relevant actions to help manage conversations or help get things done. We are bringing the power of M’s AI technology to support and enhance the Messenger experience and make it more useful, personal and seamless. To experience M, simply chat with a friend or a group as you normally would. M may make a suggestion in a conversation relevant to one of the core actions listed above, and then the M logo and suggestion will appear—it’s that simple. And M learns: The more you use it, the more it can help. You always have the option to ignore or dismiss a suggestion if it’s not helpful, and if you don’t want M’s assistance, you can easily mute it in M settings.

Landowski and El Moujahid also announced that “Messenger users across the globe” will begin seeing a revamp of the way they compose messages in the application, with easier access to visual messaging tools, images and the More tab, the gateway to features such as games, payments, share location and rides.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.