TikTok, the popular social media platform known for its short-form videos, is venturing into the realm of AI chatbots with the TikTok Tako chatbot. In an effort to enhance user experience and facilitate content discovery, TikTok is currently testing its own chatbot named “Tako.”
Let’s take a look at the exciting functions and implications of Tako, its potential impact on content consumption, and the concerns surrounding privacy and data retention.
TikTok Tako chatbot presents a new way to explore TikTok
TikTok Tako chatbot is currently undergoing limited testing in select markets. Positioned on the right-hand side of the TikTok interface, Tako offers users the ability to engage in natural language queries, seek answers to specific questions, or discover new content recommendations. This innovative addition aims to bring a personalized touch to the TikTok experience, allowing users to interact with the platform in a more intuitive and conversational manner.
By leveraging Tako, users can ask the chatbot to suggest videos based on specific topics or themes, expanding the scope of content exploration on TikTok. For instance, Tako might recommend funny pet videos upon request, providing users with a tailored selection to suit their interests. Or it might suggest you search for the importance of the related content you are watching. For instance, Tako might advise viewers to search for “What is the significance of AI-generated pictures of Donald Trump being arrested?” after viewing a video of the event.
The bot presents a curated list of results, including video titles, authors, subjects, and links to suggested content, making it easier than ever for users to dive into new and engaging videos.
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
Testing and market availability
Tako’s presence was first discovered during public testing conducted by app intelligence firm Watchful.ai. While TikTok confirmed the ongoing tests, the bot is not yet publicly available in the United States. However, Tako is being tested in other global markets, including an early limited trial in the Philippines. This cautious approach allows TikTok to gather valuable user feedback and refine Tako’s capabilities before rolling out the feature to a wider audience.
Customizing for optimal performance
Behind the scenes, TikTok has collaborated with an undisclosed third-party AI provider, leveraging their expertise to develop a chatbot specifically tailored to TikTok’s unique requirements. This strategic partnership allows TikTok to benefit from advanced AI technologies without having to build everything in-house. By customizing the AI provider’s solutions, TikTok ensures that Tako seamlessly integrates into the platform, providing a smooth and efficient user experience.
Tako’s experimental nature and limitations
Tako is introduced to users as an “experimental” feature, highlighting its innovative and evolving nature. TikTok acknowledges that the feedback provided by Tako may not always be accurate or true, emphasizing the ongoing refinement process. As with other AI chatbots, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, TikTok Tako chatbot should not be relied upon for critical matters such as medical, legal, or financial advice. Users should approach Tako as a helpful companion rather than a definitive source of information.
The introduction of AI chatbots raises legitimate privacy concerns. While TikTok allows users to delete their chats manually, questions remain about the extent of data logging associated with Tako. Users are cautious about the storage and potential usage of their personal information. Transparency and user control are vital aspects that TikTok needs to address to ensure trust and maintain a safe environment for its users.
Despite going through a rough patch with the states of the U.S., such as when the company sued Montana over app ban, TikTok seems to be trying its best to remain transparent with its privacy policies, as can be seen in the case of TikTok Tako chatbot.
Nevertheless, TikTok’s decision to introduce Tako holds intriguing implications for the broader search landscape, specifically challenging the dominance of Google. As Gen Z users increasingly turn to TikTok and Instagram for their initial search queries, the integration of an in-app AI chatbot like Tako could potentially disrupt the traditional search process.
By providing personalized content recommendations and direct engagement, the TikTok Tako chatbot seeks to create an immersive content discovery experience, encouraging younger users to bypass conventional search engines.
TikTok’s exploration of AI chatbot technology through Tako represents an exciting development in the platform’s evolution. By introducing natural language queries and personalized content recommendations, TikTok aims to enhance user engagement and foster a more interactive experience. However, it is crucial for TikTok to address privacy concerns, ensure data security, and provide users with greater control over their personal information. The success of Tako’s testing phase may pave the way for a transformative shift in content discovery and search dynamics within the social media landscape.