How Messenger and “M” Are Shifting Gears

After two years of trying to figure out ways to get commerce flowing through Messenger, with little success, Facebook is taking a new tack. Messenger is trying to find ways to inject buttons into conversations between friends when it thinks they intend to do things like make restaurant reservations, buy tickets to something or order food.

The buttons would give users a way to act on those ideas, by linking up with an outside company to buy something or make a reservation. Currently, users on Messenger have to search for businesses, which mostly operate on the app through automated bots. Those bots, as well as Messenger’s personal assistant M, have had difficulty fulfilling requests from people without the help of humans.

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“In the short term don’t overestimate what we can do but in the long term don’t underestimate it,” he added.

Shawn Wang and Erick Cai commented on this article.
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“Their discussions are much more grounded in reality now compared to last year.”