TikTok is testing an AI chatbot for content discovery

The bot’s called “Tako” and it’s in the “early stages” of testing.

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TikTok could soon have a new way for users to discover content. The company is in the “early stages” of testing an AI-powered chatbot, called Tako, which will be able to recommend videos and respond to queries about what users are watching.

The bot, which was first reported by TechCrunch, is currently being tested in the Philippines, TikTok said in a statement. “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 company said.

Despite being in an early phase of testing, TikTok is apparently featuring Tako fairly prominently in the app. A shortcut to the assistant sits in the main right-hand menu alongside shortcuts for bookmarks, and likes, according to TechCrunch, which got a peek at the feature.

That’s similar to the prominence Snap gave its chatbot, My AI, in its app, pushing it to the top of user’s chats. But unlike My AI, it seems TikTok is positioning Tako as a way to find new content and learn more about what’s being discussed in the clips. Users should “feel free to ask me anything and I’ll do my best to help you find what you’re looking for,” the bot says in a screenshot of the chat interface.

Tako isn’t the only way TikTok is experimenting with generative AI. The company is also testing AI-generated avatars, but hasn’t announced plans for a broader rollout. However it’s for now unclear how serious TikTok is about the technology. In its statement, the company said it has “no current plans for this beyond these early tests" of Tako.