Forget Siri, Facebook is working on its own personal assistant coming to its Messenger app. Currently codenamed Moneypenny, according to The Information, it won’t be a virtual-based assistant like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, instead it’ll be powered by “real people” to help with “researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks.”

Moneypenny, for those who recognise the name, is of course the name of the secretary in the James Bond franchise. Which makes sense considering the above description suggests its closer to a traditional personal assistant rather than the digital search-based assistants we’ve become used to on our mobiles.

The report unfortunately has little information on how far in development Moneypenny actually is or when it’ll be launched, though it’s apparently being tested internally. With Facebook opening the Messenger platform to third parties shows the company’s determination to make Messenger into its own entity rather than a product tied to Facebook.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a product aimed at offering a more human-based personal assistant. Services such as Magic, Operator, and GoButler already offer similar features based around real people helping out with tasks such as bookings, ordering products and food, and other human-to-human interactions. But can Facebook compete?

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