It seems that not all digital assistants are created equal. At least, not all digital assistants last as long as others.
U.S.-based social networking behemoth Facebook has announced an end to its M digital assistant.
In a statement to MobileSyrup, Facebook said that January 19th, 2018 will be the final day for the M messenger bot accessed through Facebook Messenger.
“We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects Facebook. We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.”
Facebook first announced M in August 2015, as a text-based personal assistant that could be used with Messenger.The assistant worked quite a bit like a chat bot, and would use contextual cues derived from individual messages to offer users a list of options based on what they were talking about.
For instance, asking “Where are you” would result in M suggesting that users share their location. Discussing money could trigger M to suggest sending a payment.
While initially only available in the U.S., Facebook eventually launched a slightly stripped down version of M in Canada in August 2017.
While the digital assistant still offered suggestions based on contextual cues, services like money sharing never made their way over to users in Canada.
Additionally, while Facebook did eventually launch the assistant in Canada, M was not available to all Canadian users. Likewise, M was only available to a limited number of American users as well.
It’s interesting to note that Facebook’s experiments with M are seemingly over, but that the company’s statement overtly suggests that the social networking giant hasn’t fully abandoned its work on artificial intelligence.
Source: The Verge
Update 09/01/2018: A Facebook spokesperson has responded to MobileSyrup‘s request for comment.
“Today we shared with the people who have access to our M closed beta project, first announced in August 2015, that January 19th is the last day the service will be available. We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot. 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.”