Facebook has announced that it is shutting down M, its human-backed AI assistant, which lived inside the Messenger for two and a half years now. The M virtual assistant will be shut down on January 19, 2018.
Facebook’s M virtual assistant, announced back in 2015, was different from Siri or Google Assistant, with a dedicated team training and supervising the service. Therefore, M was able to do things like purchasing items, getting gifts delivered. The service was made available to about 2,000 people living in California, under the beta tag, of course. But M could never get rid of that label.
Facebook has issued the following statement regarding the shutdown of M, stating the project as an ‘experiment.’
We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot. We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook. We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.
While you will no longer be able to see or use M in Messenger, the suggestions from M will still be available in the app, as mentioned above. M suggestions, which released for all users in the US last April, will continue to offer contextual content in your Messenger conversations. Suggestions from M are powered by AI and not humans, so the more you use it, the better it will get. It will be interesting to see upcoming AI projects from Facebook, with insights from M.
Instagram’s new text-only Type feature for Stories now available
Instagram has added a new feature to Instagram Stories, allowing you to post text-only stories without any media asset like photo or video. Called “Type” mode, the new addition comes in a bunch of styles to choose from and behaves in a manner similar to regular stories. It’s all the same, actually — just without photo or video.
Simply open the Stories camera and tap “Type” (placed next to “Normal”) under the record button. And you’re there! Write your thoughts (or whatever you wish to!), and play with the look and feel of your story until you get the perfect piece. There’s a variety of inclusions, from different background colors to word highlights, which you have probably already seen while using Instagram Stories. In addition, you can also use new styles when adding text to any photo or video.
Facebook now rolling out ‘Explore Feed’ feature to mobile and desktop users
Facebook has begun rolling out a new “Explore Feed” feature to mobile and desktop users today. The feature had been under testing with a small number of users lately, and is now ready for global rollout, confirmed Facebook.
So, what exactly is Facebook’s Explore Feed?
As the name suggests, Explore Feed is a broader ground for discovering new content. While it sounds and works similar to Facebook’s News Feed, the content appearing in Explore Feed is from sources that you don’t currently follow. The content generated is heavily influenced by your past likes and shares. It’s an algorithmic thing, actually.
Here’s what Facebook has to say on Explore Feed:
“We are beginning to roll out a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them,” the Facebook spokesperson said.
“We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore relevant content from Pages they haven’t connected with yet.”
The Explore Feed segment is aligned along the left sidebar on desktop, while the mobile client has it housed in the “More” menu in navigation bar. The feature is on roll, and should reach to you anytime soon, if it hasn’t already.
Instagram Stories now available on the web
Instagram is bringing support for its well-known Stories feature to the web, along with new face filters that are based on the weather types. But wait, the availability is limited to mobile web only. The update doesn’t reflect any change to the desktop version of Instagram, which already is a very basic platform of the social network as you cannot actually upload any media item from there.
Instagram Stories is now available to watch on instagram.com. The Stories feed appear at the top of the screen, just like on the mobile app. Instagram says the Stories feature has quickly become an “important part” of the photo-sharing social network, with over 250 million people using the feature every day.
You can try the new weather-inspired face filters starting today, with choices including a happy sun, a sad raincloud, an angry thunderstorm, or a laid-block sun. The choice is all yours!