Facebook's M Pushes Recommendations

Along with answering questions, smart assistants like Alexa and Siri are getting better at anticipating consumer needs. So is M -- Facebook Messenger’s AI-powered assistant, which has an increasing array of unsolicited “suggestions.”

Since launching in April, M has been popping into users’ active conversations and suggesting what it “thinks” are relevant content and actions.

If it determines that a conversation is light, for instance, M might recommend a few funny stickers to share with friends. If money is being discussed, M might suggest options for sending and receiving funds. If the subject of travel comes up, M might suggest sharing one’s geographic location.

Over time, M is becoming increasingly “personalized,” said Kemal El Moujahid, a Messenger product manager at Facebook.

Starting this week, M will start suggesting that people save content in their Messenger conversations. When engaging with friends and family on Messenger, M will also remind users to remember their birthdays.  

Additionally, M will suggest users initiate a voice or video call in Messenger if it “believes” the conversation is headed in that direction.

Going forward, additional suggestions may include content related to making plans, starting a poll and even getting a ride using a ride-sharing service like Lyft or Uber. (Scoring recommendations from M could benefit service providers.)

As of April, Messenger boasted more than 1.2 billion monthly active users. That's not bad for an app many users initially rejected when Facebook decided to separate it from its flagship service in 2014.

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