TikTok is testing an AI chatbot called Tako that can recommend videos based on what people ask for it, according to screenshots of the feature shared with The edge.
If TikTok eventually releases it widely, the chatbot could revolutionize searching and navigating the app, according to Daniel Buchuk of Watchful Technologies, a company that sees these kinds of upcoming app changes for Fortune 500 companies.
In screenshots of the test that Buchuk shared with The edge, Tako sits above the TikTok profile icon to the right of a video. Tapping it opens a chat screen, where the bot seems to be able to answer a wide variety of questions. It’s unclear what AI model TikTok uses to power Tako.
Tako will display suggested prompts to help a user start a conversation with the bot. According to Buchuk, “When I look at food videos and ask for a recipe, I get related TikTok videos for the recipe, or when I ask about good art shows in Paris, videos are shown next to a list of suggestions in the response. ” A prompt suggested by Tako in one screenshot says “What is the meaning of the coronation of King Charles III?”
A spokesperson for TikTok, Zachary Kizer, called the chatbot “a limited experiment” and shared The edge that it is not currently available to users in North America or Europe. In a tweet, the company said the test is only taking place in the Philippines.
“We are always looking for new technologies that add value to our community,” he said in an emailed statement. “In selected markets, we are piloting new ways to enable 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 nurtures culture.”
As noted by the attorney Jose Gerben, TikTok recently filed a trademark application for “chatbot software” called Tako, suggesting the company is gearing up for a wider release. It wouldn’t be the first social media app to jump on the chatbot bandwagon in recent months. In April, Snapchat made its My AI bot available to everyone for free, and Mark Zuckerberg recently told Meta Investors that he wants to “introduce AI agents to billions of people.”