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Facebook Messenger rolled out a new feature today that’s powered by M, its AI-powered virtual assistant.

The new feature, called M Suggestions, appears in chat conversations to suggest a response based on the topic of conversation. So if someone asks “Where are you?” M detects the intent and suggests that you share your location.

The bot will initially be available to a limited number of users, but Messenger plans to expand the AI-powered service to more of the Messenger-using public in early 2017, Messenger VP David Marcus told BuzzFeed News.

If M provides suggestions for conversations between people, it could be the first Facebook Messenger bot to operate in a group setting. Startups and developers making bots have complained about the limitations of Messenger bots when it comes to working in groups.

VentureBeat inquired about the nature of M Suggestions and whether the bot can operate in group chat, but Facebook declined to comment.

Other automated features on Messenger will become a part of M Suggestions. Chat Assist suggestions for things Like Uber rides and peer-to-peer payments, for example, made their debut on Messenger in September.

Facebook’s M has been available for more than a year now.

The addition of more suggested text could be an attempt to compete with Google, since the feature is similar to the Smart Replies you see when you use Google Assistant and the Allo chat app.

M is powered by both artificial intelligence and humans who train M’s machine learning program to make it smarter.


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