Facebook is planning to introduce a virtual assistant that internally is known as “Moneypenny”. Unlike other famous virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and the upcoming Hound, this virtual assistant will be powered by real people where users will be able to ask for help when ordering products and services and among other tasks.
The basic concept of a virtual assistant with a human element behind the scenes is not new. Magic is another species of this category. Magic is a SMS based assistant with trained operators who are on standby 24/7, who service several requests as long they are not “illegal”. The chat is free but they add their fee on the final price of the good/service & a tip is included according to their website.
Apparently this assistant will be incorporated within Facebook Messenger. Facebook has been trying to build an ecosystem in Messenger by setting up a platform for various apps to be used in chatting like games, GIF apps and among others. They also recently made it a standalone chat app where you can sign up for Messenger without necessarily having a Facebook account. Coupling this with the native video calling & a huge 700 million monthly user base, Facebook is positioning Messenger as a unique chatting ecosystem and this seems to be the strategy of the company.
One may wonder, why the need for an assistant for Facebook Messenger? This “assistant” seems to be a concierge of some sort that will make it easy for people to buy stuff via the app. Although it was not explicitly mentioned, does this mean Facebook is planning to foray into the ecommerce arena, Amazon style? We’ll have to wait and see what they have planned for Moneypenny
Source: The Information