Is Facebook working on a Messenger assistant powered by real people?

is facebook working on a messenger assistant powered by real people
Having gathered up more than a billion users for its social networking service, Facebook has been steadily rolling out additional product and feature offerings to enhance its core product, broaden its appeal, and, ultimately, rake in more revenue.

Similar to virtual assistants from other big-name tech firms – think Google Now, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana – Facebook is developing its own take on the tool with one called Moneypenny, unnamed sources have told The Information (via Business Insider).

Taking its name from the character in the James Bond books and movies, the new feature, apparently for Facebook’s Messenger app, is reportedly already being tested by the company’s Menlo Park employees.

Though details are currently a little on the scant side, an interesting tidbit is offered up about how the feature might function. Instead of queries whizzing off to a server for processing as they do with Siri and others, Facebook’s could be dealt with by human assistants, The Information says.

Moneypenny’s uses may be more limited, though – at least at launch – as it’s thought the feature may be geared toward helping Messenger users find information on products and services, and even get help with purchases. In fact, it seems that it could function along similar lines to delivery concierge apps such as Magic and Operator, with users deciding on a specific product via a real-time text exchange with a Messenger assistant. With Moneypenny, Facebook could organize the order and delivery, and take a cut of every sale.

An early indication of Facebook’s interest in building e-commerce features into its messaging apps came last year when it hired former PayPal president David Marcus as VP of messaging products. Besides the expected Moneypenny feature, Marcus is also overseeing the gradual rollout of a new payment feature for Messenger, while closer integration with businesses was announced back in March.

There’s no suggestion about when, or even if, Moneypenny might roll out to users, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted either way.

Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Product Review

It's not a spy, but you still won't want to friend Facebook's Portal+

Facebook has jumped into the smart home game with the Portal+, a video-calling device featuring an Amazon Alexa speaker and a screen. While it has lots of cool calling features, we’re weary of Facebook taking up counter space in our home.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Cars

VW will use Siri as the designated driver for its connected car party

Volkswagen of America added Apple's Siri to help drivers control and interact with their cars. Owners can customize voice commands to tell Siri to change access settings such as interior climate, vehicle lock status, and fuel checks.
Deals

All the best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Mobile

Barnes & Noble’s new Nook tablet now has its own keyboard cover and dock

Barnes & Noble recently launched its largest mobile device to date, the Nook Tablet 10.1. Now the company has released a couple of accessories designed exclusively for the new Nook: A keyboard cover and a charging dock.
Mobile

Apple applies for a patent on a wrap-around iPhone display

Previously, Apple was awarded a patent for a foldable phone, and the company has been rumored to be working on one. But it's not at all similar to other concepts. Here's everything we know about a folding iPhone.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Deals

Save up to $850 with the best smartphone deals for November 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $850.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Mobile

How does fast charging work? Here’s every single standard compared

Modern smartphones can charge in mere minutes instead of hours. How does fast charging work? Here's a guide to the most popular standards, including Qualcomm Quick Charge, Apple fast charging, OnePlus Dash Charge, and more.
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 display could be bigger than the iPhone XS Max screen

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was only released a few months ago, but Samsung is already working on a follow-up. Not much is known about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 just yet, but we do have a few details.
Mobile

Keep your phone organized with one of the best file managers for Android

Your smartphone has a limited amount of storage space and all sorts of files tend to accumulate if you let them. To keep things in order and find what you need, you should snag one of the best file managers for Android.