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September 21, 2017

Facebook’s ‘M’ AI assistant will help you choose a movie

by John_A

Facebook had grand plans for its in-Messenger AI assistant, M, when it was launched in 2015. While the service hasn’t quite yet lived up to the hype, the company is continually rolling out new features in a bid to make using it a fun experience, and to make it easier to get things done. From today, users in the US will see three new suggestions when using the app.

First up, GIF suggestions. If you’re in a group or one-to-one conversation and type a common expression such as “I love you” or “thanks”, a GIF picker bar will appear, automatically showing GIFs that correspond to that phrase. It’s a fun addition. M suggestions for quick replies is a bit more useful. If you’re asked a straightforward yes/no question in a one-to-one chat, the function offers quick reply options “yes”, “no” or “I think so”. Which is helpful if you’re trying to make plans but can’t dedicate real time to looking at your phone.

Finally, there’s M suggestions for Fandango’s new chat extension. If someone in your chat suggests seeing a movie, M will suggest you open the chat extension to find a film, watch a trailer or look up show times, which can then be shared back to the chat with a simple tap. You’ll also be able to buy tickets directly inside Messenger, a function that aligns the service with Facebook’s original M aspirations. M is AI-powered, so the more you use it, the better it’ll learn how to help. But if you get bored of the GIFs, it’s easy to mute the service, too.

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