Facebook is reportedly testing a personal assistant service built into its Messenger app and referred to internally as “Moneypenny” — the name of the secretary from the James Bond franchise. Moneypenny is not a virtual entity in the vein of Microsoft’s Cortana or Apple’s Siri, but a service that connects users to “real people” to help with “researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks.”
It’s also unclear what features the service will begin with and how exactly Facebook will fulfill requests,” says The Information. It seems from the report that Facebook’s Moneypenny will have more in common with services like Magic or Operator, where you just text a person what you need and they figure out the logistics.
Those startups take a service charge on top of the cost of the goods delivered, but it’s unknown how Facebook Messenger will charge its 700 million users for Moneypenny, or how it’ll actually handle the delivery itself — it seems unlikely, but not impossible, that Facebook will hire its own fleet of delivery drivers.
Facebook Messenger, which is led by former PayPal CEO David Marcus, has been investing in making the texting app more of a shopping tool, though so far it’s mostly been for stuff like order updates. This could be a major new service from Facebook, and one of the only things the company charges its users for.