Remember when Snapchat got review-bombed by angry users after introducing a GPT-powered chatbot (and pinning it to the top of everyone’s chat feed)?
Well, TikTok apparently doesn’t because it’s now testing its own generative chatbot called Tako.
According to TechCrunch, Tako will be able to do things like answer users’ questions about videos they’re currently watching, and recommend more videos to watch based on certain niches or topics (e.g. cooking, pottery, DIY projects).
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In the example TechCrunch gives, a user watching a video about King Charles’ coronation might see Tako suggest that they ask it what the historical significance of the coronation is.
If Tako is actually capable of delivering consistent, factual, unbiased responses to users’ questions, that could see it cut even further into Google‘s search traffic. But that’s a very big if, and right now, TikTok isn’t publicizing which AI company it’s working with to develop Tako.
TechCrunch says that the first time Tako is launched, TikTok
informs users that the bot is considered “experimental” and that the information it gives “may not be true or accurate.” The warning also says not to rely on Tako for medical, legal, or financial advice, and says all Tako conversations are reviewed for safety purposes and to “enhance your experience.” As the outlet notes, this means TikTok is saving the contents of Tako’s chats with users.
“Being at the forefront of innovation is core to building the TikTok experience, and we’re always exploring new technologies that add value to our community,” a TikTok spokesman told TechCrunch. “In select markets, we’re testing new ways to power search and discovery on TikTok, and we look forward to learning from our community as we continue to create a safe place that entertains, inspires creativity and drives culture.”
Tako is currently being tested on iOS devices in the U.S. TikTok confirmed the bot is also being tested in global markets, including the Philippines.