TikTok Starts Testing Generative AI Chatbot Tako
TikTok has begun experimenting with a generative AI chatbot named Tako. The chatbot was first discovered by Israeli app intelligence firm Watchful.ai and later confirmed by TikTok as a tool for finding content on the social media video app.
1/ We’re in the early stages of exploring chatbot tools with a limited test of Tako with select users in the Philippines. Tako is an AI-powered tool to help with search and discovery on TikTok.
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) May 25, 2023
Tako is currently in early testing and is only accessible to some users in the Philippines. The Watchful screenshots show a new Tako button above the user’s profile icon. When the button is tapped, Tako will suggest videos based on queries from the user. Watchful’s Daniel Buchuk described a recipe request leading Tako to curate some videos showing how to make a dish, while art exhibits to visit in Paris led to a list of options and videos exploring those spaces. TikTok explained Tako’s third-party generative AI model source but emphasized that it is still very early days for the feature, with no plans for a wider rollout at the moment. That said, TikTok did submit a trademark application for “Tako.”
“Tako is powered by a third-party chat assistant and is designed to help make it easier to discover entertaining and inspiring content on TikTok,” the firm said in another tweet in the thread. “No current plans for this beyond these early tests, but we’re excited to hear your feedback!”
This isn’t TokTok’s first generative AI experiment. The company began testing synthetic image generation for user avatars last month, itself an enhancement of the custom digital avatar feature introduced a year ago, as well as releasing a text-to-image AI Greenscreen filter for translating text prompts into background images. The generative AI avatar tool produces as many as 30 options every day based on uploaded photos and style choices chosen by the user.
TikTok’s chatbot tests follow Snap’s debut of a generative AI chatbot for TikTok rival Snapchat. The My AI chatbot came out in February as a premium feature before becoming available to all users in April. My AI is built on OpenAI’s ChatGPT model and is pitched as an assistant for planning trips, meals, and gifts, among other activities. The April update also gave My AI personalization options and enabled parents to set it to a more kid-friendly mode.