Facebook testing its own virtual assistant in messaging app

In this Wednesday, June 11, 2014 photo, a man walks past a sign in an office on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif. One more time, Facebook is trying to simplify its lengthy privacy policy — and make it much shorter — to explain how it targets advertisements to its 1.35 billion users. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) In this Wednesday, June 11, 2014 photo, a man walks past a sign in an office on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif. One more time, Facebook is trying to simplify its lengthy privacy policy — and make it much shorter — to explain how it targets advertisements to its 1.35 billion users. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is the latest technology company to offer users a virtual assistant service.

Facebook is testing the artificial intelligence-powered service, called simply “M,” inside its messaging app, Messenger, with some users.

David Marcus, the head of messaging products at the Menlo Park, California company, says in a Facebook post that M can do things like buy items for you, get gifts delivered and book restaurant reservations or appointments.

Apple’s Siri is the most well-known virtual assistant. Microsoft and Amazon also have options.

Marcus says M aims to do more than other digital assistants on the market by completing tasks on the user’s behalf.

With more than 700 million users, Messenger is one of the world’s most popular messaging apps.

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