- AI chatbots are gaining popularity across various platforms, including Microsoft, Google, and now Meta’s WhatsApp.
- Meta’s AI chatbot on WhatsApp has undergone limited beta testing and is now rolling out to more testers at scale, with a new floating action button for easier access to AI functionality .
- Compatibility of the new AI chatbot on WhatsApp with older versions suggests that a stable version of the channel could be imminent, adding to WhatsApp’s long list of new features such as DocuSign integration and voice chats for groups more important.
AI has made waves in almost every app seen on Android, as well as other operating systems. Microsoft offers Copilot on Windows, while Google’s Bard and Search Labs chatbot experiments are gaining traction with testers. Meanwhile, Meta is also bringing an AI assistant to its properties, including Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp. The new AI chatbot is now being deployed on a large scale on WhatsApp.
In September this year, Meta announced plans to use an AI chatbot for its popular services. At the time, the implementation looked a lot like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google Bard. The company relied heavily on the large Llama 2 language model for smooth, lifelike conversation, while a partnership allowed Microsoft Bing to do all the heavy lifting, finding the answers to your questions through a web search. You can ask the AI any question or try one of the platform-specific features, such as AI-generated visual effects for photos on Instagram. However, only a few testers had access to these AI tools.
After a few months of beta testing, it looks like Meta has added the finishing touches, as WABetaInfo has spotted a new AI-powered chat shortcut in WhatsApp. This indicates a wider rollout, at least for the beta channel, and that’s a good sign. In due course, Meta is also expected to expand availability to the stable channel.
New floating action button in WhatsApp makes it easier to access generative AI
The new shortcut for starting a chat with the AI appears as a floating action button (FAB) just above the new FAB message in the Discussions tab on WhatsApp. This new launcher shortcut, which looks like a multi-colored circle in a pale gray button, makes it much easier to access Meta AI in WhatsApp, which was previously hidden in the Contacts section. The new location also makes it easier to discover the features, as it’s unmissable if you’ve never seen it before.
WABetaInfo notes that WhatsApp beta version 184.108.40.206 is compatible, but some testers may see the functionality even on the older version 220.127.116.11. The former is currently available on the Play Store, giving us hope that WhatsApp’s AI chatbot isn’t too far away from a stable channel release. The messaging app already has several other important features that are already reaching users, like the new integration with DocuSign to facilitate digital signatures, and voice chats for larger groups that ensure you don’t need to start a voice call that disturbs each participant.
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