In 2015 Facebook announced and released its digital assistant, known simply as "M" in the USA. However, other countries have been left waiting. Well, as of today, Facebook is rolling out "M" in Canada (and the UK).
"M" is supposed to operate much like Google Assistant or Cortana with one major caveat. It works exclusively in Facebook Messenger. However, it appears to operate more like a chat bot rather than a full fledged digital assistant.
For example, if someone were to ask you where you are in Messenger, "M" will helpfully offer to send your location with a simple tap, as seen below.
Here is a short list of the some of the functions "M" can perform.
- Sending stickers - personalised suggestions for stickers like ‘Thank you' or 'Bye-bye'.
- Sharing location - If the conversation is about your location, so someone asking “Where are you?” for example, M will suggest that you share your location.
- Making a plan - If you are trying to organise a plan with a group, M will suggest using Messenger’s planning capabilities.
- Creating a poll - If you and a group are having a difficult time deciding on a subject, M will suggest creating a poll to decide once and for all.
- Birthdays - If the person you are speaking to in a one-on-one conversation is currently celebrating their birthday, M will surface a suggestion to wish them happy birthday in one of the many ways Messenger currently supports; these include stickers, cards, and videos.
- Saved - When content is shared in a message that M decides is worth you saving for later, a suggestion will pop up for you to use the Saved extension. This can be used for URLs, videos, Facebook posts, events, and pages.
- Starting a voice or video call - If you’re in a one-on-one message and one of you suggests you actually speak, M will suggest initiating a call within the app.
Will I use it?
I am a big user of digital assistance on my devices, with most of my use being Google Assistant or Cortana based. As for "M", I highly doubt the features will be incredibly useful to me. That said, I won't actively avoid or turn off "M". I will likely leave it as is when it hits my devices and if it gives me a useful prompt from time to time, great. If not, oh well.