M, the virtual assistant at the heart of Facebook Messenger, was launched back in 2015. The assistant started to suggest things in early April, and now has the capability to suggest that users say happy birthday to their Facebook friends. For some of us, this new feature is helpful- but for others, it seems to be a waste of time. After all, the Facebook home page already reminds us of our friends’ birthdays, so why do we need another reminder?
The birthday reminders are so users can keep in touch with their social groups, says the company. To start with, messenger will allow users to say happy birthday through text or a sticker. Eventually, depending on what you say and how you act with certain people, M will suggest birthday greetings that fit the relationship you have with people.
It’s a smart technology that gets to know you and your friends and how you interact with each other- but is it pushing the limits of privacy? It might be- but it’s still pretty cool.
Along with this, M also appears at the bottom of chat screens to suggest things. M suggests things like saving photos, sharing links, and downloading text files. The goal is to enhance conversations. This being said, M can now also suggest the making of voice calls and voice messages, and the sending of appropriate message responses.
There is a feature of M that allows users to save links to be looked at later. The feature can’t be missed, as it is a clear banner with a star on it. When clicked, the banner turns blue and saves the link to be opened later. This isn’t limited to links, however- this suggestion is also used to save posts, photos, events, pages, and videos.
To give an example of things M suggests, consider this. You’re messaging someone and they say, “want to call me?”. M picks this up and suggests that you call the person who said it via a voice or video call shortcut.
Currently, M’s biggest rival is Google Assistant. The two have been battling it out and trying to out-due each other for months. With the update of M, Facebook hopes to come out on top.