Facebook testing MoneyPenny virtual assistant?

Naomie Harris became the sixth actress to portray Miss Moneypenny in the Bond Films when she starred in Skyfall (2012)

Naomie Harris became the sixth actress to play Miss Moneypenny when she starred in Skyfall (2012)

Facebook Messenger is set to get its own virtual digital assistant according to a new report from The Information (subscription needed), who suggest that Facebook’s assistant is codenamed “Moneypenny”. The name – made famous by M’s assistant Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond series of books and films – may change ahead of launch but the service could be one of the only things that Facebook charges its users for.

Unlike other virtual assistants – such as Siri, Cortana or Google Now – which focus on productivity features, Moneypenny will be a tool to help you with your shopping needs. Using its Messenger tool, Facebook’s Moneypenny will let you ask real people for help researching and ordering products and services but as BusinessInsider point out, it’s unknown how Facebook plans to handle the logistics of deliveries.

Based on this somewhat scarce information, Moneypenny has more in common with services like Magic or Operator – rather than the voice assistants listed above – as these services let you message a person telling them what you need and they will take care of your request.

These services add a service charge on top of the cost of your order but with Facebook, it’s unknown how the company will generate revenue from the Moneypenny feature. The company could potentially choose one of a few revenue models; they could add a service charge on top of the order cost, charge users a fee for Moneypenny, charge companies to be listed in Moneypenny and/or earn commission from orders placed.

Facebook Messenger, which is led by former PayPal CEO David Marcus, has been transitioning towards becoming more of a shopping tool and the Moneypenny assistant could be its crowning glory. It’s unknown when Facebook will make Moneypenny a reality and exactly what services the assistant will launch with but we’ll keep an eye on this and let you know when we have more information.

From the basic information we have, it seems that Moneypenny could be a success for Facebook and hopefully it won’t suffer the same fate as the Facebook Home and Poke apps. What do you think about Facebook’s proposed new feature? Would you use Facebook Messenger and/or Moneypenny for your shopping needs? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!

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