Experimenting with AI Search Functionality: Meta Trials on Instagram

Apart from testing Meta AI chatbot with users in countries like India on WhatsApp, the company is also experimenting with putting Meta AI in the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery. The search query in the search bar leads you to a conversation in DM with Meta AI, where you can ask questions or use one of the pre-loaded prompts. Separately, a few users TechCrunch talked to were able to ask Meta AI to search for Reels suggestions. Meta confirmed its Meta AI experiment on Instagram with TechCrunch. You can find a ton of posts about the quality of Instagram search.

Meta is determined to expand the reach of its ingenious AI-powered products, making them accessible to a wider audience. In addition to its successful testing of the Meta AI chatbot on WhatsApp users in countries like India, the company is venturing into the realm of Instagram with its AI capabilities. One such innovation is integrating Meta AI into the Instagram search bar, allowing users to engage in AI-powered conversations and discover new content effortlessly.

The conversation with Meta AI can be initiated by a simple search query in the Instagram search bar, leading to a direct message with the AI. This enables users to ask questions or choose from a list of pre-loaded prompts. The design of this prompt screen caught the attention of Perplexity AI’s CEO, Aravind Srinivas, who pointed out the similarities with his startup’s search screen.

But this is just the beginning. Meta AI on Instagram has the potential to revolutionize content discovery. For instance, while watching a video on Threads, users can tap on a prompt like “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels” to search for related Reels content. TechCrunch was able to speak to a few users who successfully used Meta AI to get suggestions for Reels.

This indicates that Meta is planning to utilize the power of generative AI beyond just text generation. The company aims to utilize AI to surface fresh and exciting content from its vast network of users on Instagram. This has been confirmed by Meta itself in an interview with TechCrunch, although no specific details were provided regarding the use of generative AI technology in search.

“We are currently working on a number of generative AI-powered experiences, and some of them are being tested publicly on a limited basis,” shared a Meta spokesperson with TechCrunch.

It’s no secret that Instagram has been criticized for the quality of its search results. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if Meta plans to use generative AI to enhance the search experience on the platform.

Moreover, with fierce competition from rival platforms such as TikTok, Meta would undoubtedly want to improve the discoverability of content on Instagram. Last year, Google introduced a new feature called “Perspectives” which displays results from platforms like Reddit and TikTok. And this week, well-known reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi revealed that Instagram is working on an option called “Visibility off Instagram,” which could potentially display Instagram posts in search engine results.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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