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Facebook Messenger now lets you order food inside the app

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent
Facebook announced several new features for Messenger during the first day of its F8 conference, held this year in San Jose, Calif.

Facebook Messenger now lets you order delivery inside the popular messenger app, thanks to a new partnership with Delivery.com, the messenger platform announced on Tuesday.

Messenger, which recently reported 1.2 billion monthly active users, announced at Facebook’s F8 conference in San Jose, Calif., that Delivery.com will be the first business partner to take advantage of M Suggestions, Messenger’s virtual assistant. Rolled out earlier this month, M Suggestions does what its name suggests, using artificial intelligence to understand what is being said in any given Messenger chat to make recommendations that pop up during the course of a conversation. But from now on, those suggestions will also include prompts to order food based on the context of a chat.

“In a group thread, if someone says, ‘hey, we should get pizza,’ it will suggest, here’s a nearby merchant you can order from through Delivery.com,” Facebook Messenger Head of Product Stan Chudnovsky told Yahoo Finance.

Source: Facebook Messenger

The tie-up with Delivery.com — which has more than 1 million of its own users — is the first partnership for Messenger’s M Suggestions.

Facebook (FB) on Tuesday also announced two additional Messenger features, including a new Discover tab that will appear and show you some of the businesses who have chat bots on Messenger for you to interact with. Basically, the Discover tab is a section dedicated to showcasing businesses, from CNN to Spotify.

“Facebook has 65 million businesses, but how do I find them if I’m a user? I have no idea how to find them,” explained Chudnovsky. “So all of a sudden, I have a place to find businesses I want to find, and as a developer, I have a place to be discovered. I can get my news from CNN. I can communicate with AT&T. I can talk to Wal-Mart or Neiman Marcus. All the businesses are there.“

Businesses like Delivery.com, CNN and Spotify, do not pay Messenger to be featured on the platform. Instead, Messenger relies on mobile advertising for revenues, as the rest of Facebook does.

As M Suggestions evolves over the long-term, expect the AI-driven feature to eventually make recommendations beyond say, stickers, payments, or Uber and Lyft rides. Say you and a friend are talking about Rihanna. Don’t be surprised if one day, M Suggestions shows three songs off a Spotify bot to shoot over.

“The whole idea is that M will train itself, because the A.I. is that sophisticated,” added Chudnovsky, who cautioned the Spotify scenario isn’t something users will stumble upon this week, but some time soon.

Regardless, Messenger’s end-goal is clear: the platform wants to get to a point where it is a rich, multi-faceted platform where users can spend a significant chunk of their day engaging with other users and businesses. Based on Messenger’s recent slew of announcements, it’s certainly well on its way, whether you’re a Messenger aficionado or not.

JP Mangalindan is a senior correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.  

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