According to The Information, it would appear that Facebook is working on a virtual assistant for mobile devices.
Facebook’s upgraded concierge service, codenamed “Moneypenny” in a nod to M’s assistant in the James Bond films, would be very different from Siri and company.
Users wouldn’t actually be turning to an artificial intelligence for assistance. Instead, there would be real human advisors on the other end, individuals capable of helping with almost any kind of demand. The idea is to be able to respond to all queries, including ordering goods and services.
Like certain games and Facebook’s payment system, both of which will initially be tested out in the US, this new tool could also find itself integrated into Messenger.
The Information states that “Moneypenny” would be similar to Magic or Operator, two concierge services that operate through SMS or email alerts and which make money through commission on sales. It would not be a virtual assistant along the lines of Siri.
Back in 2011 Apple presented its voice-activated intelligent assistant, Siri, who is able to understand regular speech and answer all sorts of questions, from controlling phone functions to searching for information online.
Since then, others have come out with similar concepts, notably Google with Google Now and Microsoft with Cortana.