Facebook acquires startup Ozlo to build up AI for Messenger

The startup says its technology uses data "to understand real-world nuances."
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Facebook is acquiring the artificial intelligence startup Ozlo to build up AI capabilities within Messenger, Facebook confirmed Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We're excited to welcome the Ozlo team as we build compelling experiences within Messenger that are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning," said a Facebook spokesperson in a written statement to ZDNet.

Ozlo, based in Palo Alto, Calif., said on its website that its team "has built a knowledge graph containing over 2 billion entities and created amazing AI technology that uses this data to understand real-world nuances." Those real-world nuances, according to Recode, include questions that don't have yes-or-no answers, such as whether a restaurant is "group friendly."

In April, Facebook rolled out M, an AI-powered digital assistant in Messenger with limited functionality.

"This is just the beginning for M," wrote Facebook product managers Laurent Landowski and Kemal El Moujahid in a blog post at the time. "Expect to see more and more AI-powered, delightful and relevant experiences improving Messenger for you, every day."

Since then, Facebook researchers have said they've made progress in training chatbots to negotiate.

Messenger has more than 1.2 billion monthly active users, and Facebook is making the messaging platform a place where people can easily communicate not only with other people but also with businesses. Still, Facebook executives insist Messenger monetization will be "slow and deliberate."

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