Facebook tests out own virtual assistant: Report

Facebook is testing a virtual assistant that allows Messenger users to query real people for shopping advice, tech news website The Information reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

And it has a name James Bond fans would appreciate—Moneypenny.

The move underscores the emphasis the social network has been placing on Messenger as a stand-alone application. That app has grown to 700 million monthly active users in recent months.

The Information says Facebook employees are testing the product. A launch date is unknown, and details about how the service will work also are unclear.

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Facebook's Messenger app displayed on a smartphone.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Facebook's Messenger app displayed on a smartphone.

Apple, Google and Microsoft already have established personal assistant software with Siri, Google Now and Cortana, respectively. Moneypenny may have more in common with start-up "concierge" apps such as Fetch and Operator, the tech news website said.

Those companies have real employees fulfill requests for users, such as ordering a box of diapers or making restaurant reservations.

Facebook declined to comment on the report to CNBC.

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