After Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri and Google's, well, Google Now, another big player in the game might have decided to take the challenge and get a virtual assistant to your personal device. Have you ever dreamed of being a secret agent like James Bond, having your own Moneypenny at your disposal? Then maybe Facebook has something in mind for you.
So far there is not much known about the new project that Facebook has started internally, codenamed "Moneypenny", but it seems that the social media giant is going a slightly different way than its competitors who are already in the market. While all the other assistants on offer that use voice recognition and voice synthesis to help you out with automatic actions or generated results of queries, Facebook is told to be aiming to have real people behind its digital helper.
The system is said to be integrated into Facebook Messenger, so far known for instant messaging and voice communication, and will give you the possibility to ask real people for help with "stuff". The original source keeps pretty much everything else to itself, mentioning only "research and shopping" as potential subjects, leaving a lot to imagine and hope for. The inclusion in something as widespread as the messenger will perhaps allow for bigger distribution and wider acceptance than other, older projects like Poke.
As usual, the internal codename is highly unlikely to make into a final product, even more with something as widely known as a James Bond character, and after all we're only told that Facebook is currently "conducting tests" with this kind of application. So nothing tangible on any side of this story, really, except the fact that Zuckerberg and company might be considering to enter the highly competitive market of virtual assistants.
With a big name and player like this, maybe even the news itself will have the industry and hence its potential rivals become alert and initiate further developments or even announcements, but until then this remains a very foggy subject that we're very likely to hear more about in the near future, if there is anything concrete about it at all.