TECH

Facebook's Secret Project Could Run Errands For You

Think of it as a personal assistant who can get you food or hail you a taxi.
SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 10:  Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., attends the Allen & Company
SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 10: Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., attends the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 10, 2014 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Many of the world's wealthiest and most powerful businessmen from media, finance, and technology attend the annual week-long conference which is in its 32nd year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rumor has it that Facebook is developing its own digital personal assistant. 

Codenamed "Moneypenny" -- perhaps after the much-loved character Miss Moneypenny, from the James Bond series -- Facebook's personal assistant service would perform tasks rather than answer questions, setting it apart from Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana. Moneypenny aims to connect users to "real people," who would help them with "researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks," according to a report from The Information (paywalled).

Currently, apps like Magic and GoButler let users text operators directly to request personalized services such as picking up food delivery and booking flights. But Facebook's assistant service would be built directly into its Messenger app.  

The Verge speculates that Facebook could be modeling Moneypenny after Asia-based services like WeChat, which allows users to carry out tasks such as hailing taxis or ordering food in-app. (While people can download WeChat in the United States, only users across various Asian countries like Singapore and China can enjoy personalized service.) 

The name "Moneypenny" could still be changed, Business Insider reported Monday, and the rollout date for the app remains unknown. 

A spokesperson from Facebook declined to comment when reached.