Facebook is rumored to be working on its own smart assistant to rival big guns like Amazon Echo and Google Home—and all thanks to Jane Manchun Wong, we can now put a face to the prototype. Codenamed Aloha, it is being built to pair a video chat service with an AI assistant.
Wong, a famous and highly intelligent reverse engineer who has her footprints in several hidden discoveries in Facebook and other popular apps, posted pictures of the prototype of the upcoming service on her Twitter page.
The only thing that works at the moment is the UI, with Wong confirming to TNW that Aloha’s full features are currently only available to users who can authenticate with Facebook employee account. In other words, Aloha is pretty much a work in progress, and nothing much can be attached to it at the moment.
Early signs of Facebook’s interest in artificial intelligence started manifesting more than a year ago when it launched the ‘M’ AI. The social media giant had announced that “M” will suggest features to use during conversation.
The will suggest or recommend a “bye-bye” GIF if someone is saying goodbye for example or suggest its payments feature if you write “You owe me $20” during conversation.
‘M’ will privately interject the suggestions above the redesigned one-line message composer in your Messenger conversations. The good thing is, the other person at the other end [the person you are having the conversation with] won’t see the outcome unless you allow it.
Like M, Aloha is also being built to work with Facebook Messenger, and could be Facebook’s way of announcing its readiness to storm the AI market already being dominated by Amazon and Google.
Still on Facebook Messenger, this time the Kids’ version, the app has now been updated to make it easier for kids to add friends. Kids will be required to add or invite new friends to the chat app by seeking for parental approval. Parents will be required to turn on a setting that creates a “four-word passphrase” that will be used to generate contact request.
The feature, which is an opt-in one, will randomly generate a four-word phrase that is uniquely assigned to every child once enabled. Anytime a child wants to add a friend to his contact list in the future, all that is needed is the phrase, which will be shown to his friend to enter into his own app.
Understandably, parental approval is required before request and acceptance can be made. Parents on both ends are expected to give their nod before the kids can start chatting. Basically, Facebook is still as strict as ever when it comes to how it applies the rules per Messenger Kids.
If for nothing, it simplifies the process of kids making friends with one another on the platform regardless of whether both parents are friends on Facebook or not.