Facebook pulls the plug on its virtual assistant ‘M’

Facebook to shut down its virtual assistant ‘M’ on January 19.

tech Updated: Jan 09, 2018 10:39 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Facebook M,Facebook M Shut Down,Facebook Chatbots
‘M’ was first introduced in August 2015 as Facebook’s response to Google Now and Apple’s Siri.(REUTERS)

Facebook is shutting down its text-based virtual assistant called ‘M’ that helped researchers train an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

According to a report in The Verge, ‘M’ which was available through a bot on Facebook Messenger and it was available to only about 2,000 people. ‘M’ was first introduced in August 2015 as Facebook’s response to Google Now and Apple’s Siri. The final day of the virtual assistant will be January 19.

“We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot,” Facebook said. “We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook. We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.”

Facebook had described ‘M’ as a “beta” and suggested the human-powered assistant would be available for more users.

According to the report, Facebook M never enjoyed a large number of users. In fact, it was available to a very small number of people, no more than 2,000, living in California.

While Facebook M failed to take off, Amazon and Google were successful in bringing virtual assistant to masses through Alexa-powered Echo devices and Google Assistant-powered phones and Home-series of smart speakers, respectively. Amazon and Google were also able to improve their assistant with better and more accurate results for users. The two companies are now expanding their voice assistants to third-party devices in order to increase the adoption.

After January 19, users will have access to Facebook’s M suggestions that can be used for event planning, payment transfers and sending stickers through Messenger application.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 10:30 IST