According to an anonymously-sourced report from The Information, Facebook is working on their own entry into the virtual assistant market. Unlike Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, however, early indications are that Moneypenny—the current name used internally to refer to Facebook's offering—could be more service-oriented than the machine-driven, contextually-aware competition.
It is expected to be integrated with Messenger, but it would likely be a waste if it were not a part of Facebook's web and mobile interface as well.
At this point, details are very sparse. The Information speculates that Moneypenny may resemble startups like Magic and GoButler, which use humans to fulfill user requests for a fee. For instance, you could pay a few dollars to have someone else go through the undesirable process of cancelling your Comcast service on your behalf.
With that said, Facebook is privy to a gold mine of information on its users that is only rivaled by Google. Their massive team of data scientists can surely use those resources to create an automated service more in the vein of Google Now. And while Zuckerberg and co. have emphasized Messenger as a key platform, this sort of feature doesn't seem like a natural fit for it.
This is all very preliminary and no release date has been set, if there is one at all. But don't think Facebook will sit idly by as this market segment becomes more important.
- The Information