Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2017 as of today
£ 231.660 Million

Facebook Bolsters its AI Assistant with Ozlo Acquisition

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Could Facebook Messenger use Ozlo to become the next Alexa?

When it comes to smart personal assistant, Facebook is still small fry: in a scene dominated by voice-powered heavyweights such Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, you might be forgiven for not knowing that the Menlo Park-based company also has its own virtual helper programme.

Called M, the Artificial Intelligence bot is built on top of the Messenger platform. The assistant can answer users’ questions and provide suggestions on various topics; right now, though, M is only available to a few test users, and some of its functions are managed by human personnel rather than by its AI.

Now, though, Facebook might be scaling up its game, with the acquisition of Palo Alto-based startup Ozlo. Founded in 2013, the company self-describes itself as “an intelligent assistant for iOS and the web”, and “”an index of knowledge about the real world.”

In other words, Ozlo develops software  that enables bots and personal assistants to answer questions on a vast array of topics—from restaurants’ locations, to TV shows, etc.— in natural language, through a textual interface. If integrated with M, Ozlo’s technology might give Facebook’s AI assistant programme the boost it needs to catch up with the other players in the field.

It is still unknown how much Facebook paid for acquiring Ozlo. The startup announced the purchase by publishing a statement on its website: “We’re ready to take the next step in our journey with Messenger. By joining a team that shares our values and our vision, we will be able to continue to work on building experiences powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning,”

” There’s a lot more for us to explore ahead and we’re excited to bring our technology to the Messenger community.”

Image via bit.ly/2hkJZXc

 

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