Facebook acquires AI startup Ozlo to offer better virtual assistants for Messenger users

Ozlo is also expected to shut down its apps and API services in light of the acquisition.

Image: Reuters

Image: Reuters

Facebook’s latest acquisition is an artificial intelligence (AI) startup company called Ozlo, with the aim of making more in-depth virtual assistants for Messenger users. According to a report in Recode, one of the focus areas of Ozlo is providing answers to questions that don’t have a simple yes or no answer. It uses a technique called ‘probabilistic assertions of truth’ to understand text-based conversations. Ozlo is also expected to shut down its apps and API services in light of the acquisition.

Facebook Messenger already has a virtual assistant in the form of M. It is not known at this moment if the Ozlo team will merge with Messengers existing AI teams or work towards offering a completely new feature. “Our world-class 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,” says the Ozlo announcement.

The startup has around 30 employees. According to a Facebook spokesperson, most of this team will be joining Facebook Messenger team in either Menlo Park in California or Seattle in Washington. Defending Facebook’s choice of going in for a text-based assistant, Messenger’s product head Stan Chudnovsky said that the company wants to get text-based assistant right first as voice-based assistants involve a third step.




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