Facebook is reported to be thinking about entering into the virtual assistant sweepstakes, as it is said to be working on “Moneypenny,” a new feature for Facebook Messenger that will help users research and purchase products and services via the web.
Being tested internally, Moneypenny, named after the James Bond franchise character who serves as M’s secretary, is said to bring a human touch to modern digital assistants, reports The Information. For example, users might ask Moneypenny to research and purchase an HDTV.
While not much is known about the new feature, it is believed to be testing as part of Facebook Messenger. It is possible that the service could work along the same lines as current “concierge” services such as Magic, Operator, and Fetch. The service may also take some cues from Amazon’s Echo personal assistant device, which can order merchandise from the online store.
It’s likely the service would be offered on the major smartphone platforms as well as the Web. it isn’t known how Facebook would monetize the service, although it would help drive more users to its Messenger platform.
Facebook has in recent months worked to open up the Messenger platform to developers, allowing them to build apps for the service and offer third-party app integration.