Facebook has acquired an artificial intelligence (AI) startup.
The startup, called Ozlo, is based in Palo Alto, California, and according to Facebook, it'll help Facebook develop its personal assistant in the Messenger app: “They’re just going to be working with [Messenger] to continue their work with artificial intelligence and machine learning,” a Facebook spokesperson told Recode. The financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
Ozlo focuses on understanding text-based conversations and answering complex questions. On its website, you can see an AI assistant answering a question about whether a restaurant is “group friendly”. Ozlo has about 30 employees, and Facebook said a “majority" of that team will join the Messenger team in Facebook’s offices. But it's unclear if Ozlo's technology will be folded into Messenger.
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In a statement, Ozlo said the following about its acquisition:
"Now, we're ready to take the next step in our journey with Messenger. By joining a team that shares our values and our vision, we will be able to continue to work on building experiences powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. There's a lot more for us to explore ahead and we're excited to bring our technology to the Messenger community."
M is the personal assistant that Facebook introduced into Messenger earlier this year. It's similar to other proactive assistants available. The only difference is that it doesn't have a voice. It only offers suggestions by popping into an open Messenger conversation and suggesting relevant content, with the purpose of helping users communicate more efficiently and get things done.
Messenger's M is completely automated and is meant to suggest helpful actions in your chat. M might also expose you to features you didn't know were available in Messenger. However, months after debuting, it's still rather limited in terms of functionality, and users still have no way of launching it on command. You can learn more about the feature from Pocket-lint's guide.