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In pictures: Facebook’s new virtual assistant offers tricks Siri and Google Now can’t beat

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:07PM EST
Facebook Messenger M Virtual Assistant Pictures
Image: Facebook

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We’ve known for a while that Facebook is working on a special virtual assistant project that will be integrated into its popular Messenger chat application, and the service was finally launched on Wednesday. Dubbed “M,” the Messenger virtual assistant isn’t exactly a standalone service like Siri or Google Now. The whole thing works inside the Messenger app and the big difference is that the assistant combines both human and AI input to get you what you want.

Here’s what it’ll look like.

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Captured by Buzzfeed, the following screenshots show you various conversations between M, “your free personal assistant,” and users.

From the looks of it, the M assistant has quite a few interesting tricks up its sleeve, like being able to take a screenshot of a webpage by listening to a simple command entered by the user (see image above).

If that sounds simple, then you have to see the almost natural conversation that follows, where the user instructs M to book a cheap flight from San Francisco to New York on Thanksgiving week. The assistant can even adapt to errors made by the user, such as messing up flight dates, and modify the searches – after all, it’s a robot meant to help you, so it’ll have patience.

In fact, M lets users even book flights right inside Messenger, and it’ll send confirmations to your email if necessary (more images follow), and set up calendar alerts.

The coolest feature seems to be telling M to specifically not save your personal data, which is something people who value their privacy should value.

M will be available to more users in the future though Facebook has yet to mention actual rollout plans for the service.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.