Match.com has launched what is it describing as the "first dating bot" for Facebook Messenger in the UK to help single people find love using artificial intelligence.
The chatbot, called Lara, has been programmed to help those on the lookout for a partner to create their profile on the dating site without having to leave Facebook's walls.
Lara uses natural language processing techniques to interact with users in a "seamless" manner according to Match.com, and will soon be rolled out throughout Europe. She is being billed as a virtual dating assistant that can help subscribers hone their account to attract potential matches.
The project was launched in France last year, and Lara's ability to analyse up to 50 categories of criteria, including astrological signs, imperfections and hobbies means she is able to make romantic suggestions based on hard data.
Once a user’s profile has been set up, the bot will continue the conversation by asking what the user is looking for in a potential date. Analysing this information, she will recommend a series of different matches, with their profile image and basic information appearing in the Messenger conversation chain and a link through to their profile.
"With Messenger being used by over one billion people worldwide and now a big part of people’s everyday lives, developing the first dating bot has been a priority for us to make finding a date easier for singles wherever they are," said Abbie Oguntade, vice-president for Match's Northern European Hub.
Match joins a series of brands and publishers turning to Facebook Messenger bots to drive subscriptions, bookings and sales. In the UK Pizza Express, Vogue magazine – and even 50 Shades of Grey character Christian Grey – have all been experimenting with the platform.
Earlier this year Facebook made a series of updates to the service, pushing back on text speak and instead encourageing users to interact with bots via clickable menus.