Facebook opened the chatbot floodgates on Tuesday with a new API that lets any company build a smart AI assistant for the Facebook Messenger app. Noticeably missing from the action was Facebook M, a scary-smart Messenger-based bot that’s still in development and might not launch for a while.
M was actually mentioned onstage for a brief moment by Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus, but only in reference to new third-party chatbots. Business Insider caught up with Facebook’s head of messaging, Stan Chudnovsky, who had some bad news for any AI fans hoping to interact with M in the near future.
“We have a long way to go to automate as much as we’d like to automate in order to open it up to everyone,” he said. “So that’s not happening anytime soon.”
For now, M is still limited to just a few thousand people as Facebook fine-tunes the software. Chudnovsky added that the in-house chatbot is still “a long way” from a public release. Once it does launch, M could also guide your interactions with other third-party bots, similar to the way Microsoft says Cortana will help you interact with third-party bots in Skype.
For now, there are plenty of fun third-party chatbots to play with in Messenger, ranging from news-focused services to Poncho, a wisecracking cat that can tell you the weather. But, if you’re looking for an all-encompassing digital assistant, Facebook still isn’t the place to go.