TikTok’s New Chatbot Venture: Meet “Tako”

TikTok, the popular social media platform, has recently made an exciting announcement. They have shared that they are beginning to develop a new chatbot feature. They’ve named this feature “Tako”. Tako aims to interact with users regarding short videos and guide them in uncovering new content to enjoy. This innovative idea is currently undergoing some testing. A select group of users in the Philippines can try it out and provide feedback. This is just the starting point for this promising feature, and the team at TikTok is enthusiastic about its potential.

We’ve also reported recently that TikTok was planning for generative AI avatars. It seems this was the first step in their AI venture for the social network.

What is the role of Tako on TikTok?

The main role of Tako, as revealed by TikTok, is to assist users in uncovering entertaining and inspiring content within the app. This feature is programmed to lead users towards engaging, good content that adds value to their TikTok experience.

Additionally, Watchful Technologies, a firm based in Israel specializing in app intelligence, made an exciting discovery on Thursday. They noticed the presence of Tako in specific versions of the TikTok app. These were explicitly the versions installed on Apple mobile devices. This discovery hints towards Tako’s active development and implementation in TikTok’s app ecosystem.

How does Tako work?

Watchful Technologies provided Reuters with screenshots and video content that show the Tako chatbot in action. The visuals highlight Tako’s distinct presence on the TikTok interface. It is designed as an icon resembling a ghost. This eye-catching design ensures that users can easily spot it while watching videos on the app.

Users can tap this ghost-shaped icon When they feel like exploring more content or need assistance. It will open a text-based conversation with the chatbot. Through these interactions, users can ask questions, seek guidance, or request help to uncover new content to enjoy on TikTok. The design and functionality of Tako make it an engaging and user-friendly feature.

Just a month ago, in April, reports circulated in U.S. media outlets that TikTok was dabbling with a unique artificial intelligence tool. This tool was intended to enable users to design their avatars, adding a new layer of personalization to the platform.

ByteDance, the China-based company that owns TikTok, is reputedly developing a substantial AI model, per Chinese media reports. Interestingly, Douyin, the Chinese counterpart of TikTok, doesn’t currently feature any AI chatbot functionalities like Tako.

In a recent development, TikTok filed a disclosure with the U.S. Patent and trademark office. This filing took place last month for a trademark application for “TikTok Tako.” The categories under which they applied included “computer software for the artificial production of human speech and text”. This suggests that TikTok Tako could have capabilities extending beyond content discovery, perhaps even venturing into AI-generated speech and text.