Facebook Messenger is now giving intelligent assistant M new ways to respond to messages you receive. Starting today in the U.S., M will suggest things like sharing GIFs, buying movie tickets, and sending quick text responses.
M works by skimming the words in your conversations and then making suggestions based on the topics that come up. Suggestions began last year for things like stickers, location-sharing, and event creation for topics that arose during a chat. M Suggestions that bring bots into conversations started in April. Recently added suggestions include the ability to suggest music from Spotify, recipes from Food Network, and dinner from Delivery.com.
The new GIFs suggestions can appear in 1:1 or group chat. Each time a person uses a common phrase like “I love you” or “Good morning,” M may suggest sending a GIF in response. GIF picker can search for results related to the phrase, or you can choose to conduct your own search. The GIF picker is able to search Giphy, Tenor, and Disney. (In July, on the 30th anniversary of the GIF, Facebook finally gave users the ability to comment to posts with GIFs.)
With new movie recommendations from M, mention the name of a movie in theaters now and the Fandango bot chat extension will emerge, allowing you to book movie tickets without leaving Messenger.
Also new today are additional Quick Replies. Should a person in a conversation ask a question, you may see “Yes” and “No” quick replies from Messenger.
If all of this feels intrusive, M Suggestions can be shut off in Messenger settings.
M may not be the only intelligent assistant available from Facebook for much longer, as the company is reportedly in the process of creating its own smart speaker and video chat device. Group video chat in Messenger became available late last year, while a new group video chat by Facebook emerged in the Danish version of the iOS App Store last week, according to a report by The Next Web.
These new suggestions have come a week after Facebook Messenger announced that it now has 1.3 billion monthly active users, on par with WhatsApp’s monthly visitor numbers.