TikTok is testing Tako, an AI-powered chatbot, to help users find entertaining and inspiring content easily

May 28, 2023, 10:52 AM UTC
2 mins read
TikTok is testing Tako, an AI-powered chatbot, to help users find entertaining and inspiring content easily
(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images)

TikTok, the popular short-form video platform, is exploring new avenues to enhance content discovery for its users. The company is currently in the preliminary stages of testing an AI chatbot called Tako. This innovative bot leverages artificial intelligence capabilities to recommend videos and provide responses to user inquiries regarding their video-watching experiences.

TechCrunch initially reported on the existence of Tako, which is presently undergoing testing in the Philippines, according to a statement from TikTok. The company emphasized that Tako, powered by a third-party chat assistant, aims to simplify the process of discovering entertaining and inspirational content on the platform.

Although Tako is still in its early testing phase, TikTok appears to be giving the chatbot significant visibility within the app. TechCrunch was given a glimpse of the feature and noted that a shortcut to the assistant can be found in the primary right-hand menu, alongside bookmarks and likes.

This approach echoes the strategy employed by Snap, which prominently featured its chatbot, My AI, at the top of users’ chat lists. However, unlike My AI, TikTok seems to position Tako as a means to explore fresh content and gain deeper insights into the subjects discussed in video clips. In a screenshot of the chat interface, the bot states, “Feel free to ask me anything, and I’ll do my best to help you find what you’re looking for.”

Related: How to remove Snapchat’s My AI from your Chat feed

Tako’s introduction is not the sole instance of TikTok experimenting with generative AI. The company is also testing AI-generated avatars, although there have been no official announcements regarding a broader release. At present, TikTok’s commitment to this technology remains uncertain. In its statement, the company clarified that it has “no current plans for this beyond these early tests” of Tako.

TikTok’s exploration of an AI-powered chatbot represents an intriguing step toward enhancing content discovery on the platform. By providing users with an intelligent assistant, TikTok aims to streamline the process of finding engaging videos and gaining further insights into the topics that interest them. While Tako’s visibility in the app suggests TikTok’s commitment to this feature, the company’s statement on its future plans indicates a degree of caution and a desire to assess its performance and user feedback before proceeding further.

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