Facebook on Monday said that it has acquired Ozlo, a start-up that built a virtual assistant app for Android and iOS. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Ozlo launched last year, making its assistant available outside of other apps with assistants, including Alphabet’s Google Allo, Facebook’s Messenger, and Microsoft’s Skype. Ozlo can give you recipes, point to nearby restaurants and show movie showtimes, among other things. But the app hasn’t become extremely popular — on Android the app has 500-1,000 installs.
Messenger’s many end users can already talk with many chatbots in the app, and Facebook wants to get even more businesses using the technology to talk with customers. Facebook has also tested a dedicated first-party M assistant for a small group of users, and more recently it has made a few components of M available to everyone on Messenger.
The majority of the Ozlo team — 29 employees are listed on LinkedIn — is joining Facebook, and they all will be working in Facebook’s Messenger group, a Facebook spokeswoman told CNBC. The start-up’s apps and other offerings “are winding down,” the spokeswoman said.