Look out Cortana, Siri and Google Now. The world’s largest social network is reportedly developing a digital assistant of its own. The project, codenamed Moneypenny, is a bit different than the competition if a report from The Information (paywall) is to be believed.
James Bond reference aside, the Moneypenny name hints at one of the assistant’s key uses as a shopping helper. Details are sparse but the service will supposedly be integrated into Facebook’s Messenger app.
In addition to shopping duties, the service is also said to help with research and curiously enough, lets users ask real people for help. Maybe I’m being a bit pessimistic but having access to a live person as a digital assistant seems ripe for abuse, especially among Facebook’s younger demographic.
The report said the feature is currently being tested internally. What’s more, the Moneypenny name could change before it’s released to the public.
It’ll be interesting to see exactly how Facebook operates the service. One possibility is that it could arrive as a clone of Magic, the Uber of on-demand. With Magic, users simply text requests to the service’s phone number and a real person does the dirty work like ordering food from a delivery service or finding the cheapest flight to a specific destination on your behalf and returns the results ASAP.
Users pay for the goods or services arranged by Magic using either Bitcoin or mobile payment service Stripe. Magic then takes a small percentage as a service charge.
If Facebook decides to take this route with Moneypenny, it would no doubt result in yet another stream of income for the social network.
No word yet on when Facebook plans to launch the service.
Image courtesy Reuters