Facebook is Apparently Building a Human-Powered Personal Assistant

By Jamie Condliffe on at

New reports suggest that Facebook is working on a personal assistant service baked into Messenger called Moneypenny. But unlike Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, this isn’t a virtual helper: it will apparently involve a real human being at the other end.

The Information reports that the new service, known internally as Moneypenny, will allow users “to ask real people for help researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks”. Three sources have described the new service to the website, explaining that it is currently being tested internally by employees.

It’s not clear what kinds of features the service may include, but it does sound more akin to a personal concierge system than the rash of recent digital personal assistants. Nor is there any suggestion of how complete the offering is yet — let alone how close to launch it might be.

There have, of course, been other attempts to make services like this work, including the likes of Magic. Presumably Zuckerberg would be banking on sheer weight of existing numbers to make the service successful, rather than starting from scratch like competitors. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see. [The Information via Verge]