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.