Technology

[Exclusive] WhatsApp Starts Testing Meta AI in India With Select Users


WhatsApp, the widely used messaging app owned by Meta, is finally joining the AI club. The Meta AI icon is finally showing up for some users in India in the main chat list. Meta AI is powered by the company’s Large Language Model Meta AI, or long for Llama. It is an advanced artificial intelligence technology developed by Meta. For WhatsApp users, the Meta AI can have conversations about anything, from answering a query or making recommendations to just chit-chatting with AI.

I got brief access to this AI-enabled feature on Wednesday, after which it vanished, prompting that it may be available for a limited time. The screenshots below show that the Meta AI chat opens with a verified badge and says “#with Llama#”. The chat pop-up says, “Ask Meta AI anything,” and has a number of suggestive prompts on the screen. The prompts are stacked in a carousel format and can be swiped to show more suggestions. As visible in the screenshot, prompts like “imagine a car race on Mars”, “imagine a holographic bus”, “Healthy life goals”, and more can be given. Notably, the Meta AI icon is placed in the top right corner along with the Camera and New Chat options. The icon reminds me a lot of Microsoft’s Cortana assistant. 

The Meta AI feature is available in limited countries and only supports English. When starting a chat conversation with Meta AI, the platform notifies, “Messages from Meta AI and other characters are generated by artificial intelligence (AI), using a service from Meta, in response to the prompts you send to the AI.” The chat platform also clarifies that Meta AI can only read and reply to chats mentioning @Meta AI, which means the tool doesn’t have access to other chats. The prompt adds, “As always, your personal messages and calls remain end-to-end encrypted, meaning not even WhatsApp or Meta can see or listen to them.”

How to start a chat with AI from Meta on WhatsApp

Firstly, the Meta AI feature within WhatsApp can answer questions, offer recommendations, and can also talk about interests. To start a chat:

  • Tap the circular icon on the top right of the main chat list on your WhatsApp
  • Read and accept the terms (if prompted)
  • Select a suggested prompt from the screen or type your own
  • Tap the send button, and you’ve initiated the conversation

Interestingly, WhatsApp also takes feedback from users on Meta AI. Users can tap and hold the AI-generated responses and tap on ‘Good response’ or ‘Bad response’. Users can also type a reason and submit it.

Meta on the WhatsApp FAQ page mentions that “some messages generated by AIs might not be accurate or appropriate.”

Meta recently announced Llama 2, the next generation of its large language model powering generative AI assistants and is expected to release Llama 3 in the coming weeks.



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