Meta Rolls Out AI Chatbot in India to Expand AI Offerings

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New Delhi, India: Facebook parent company Meta has announced the rollout of its artificial intelligence chatbot, Meta AI, in India, aiming to scale up its AI offerings in a highly competitive market. The launch, announced on June 24, follows months of testing with a section of users in India, Meta’s largest market, with over a billion combined users across its suite of apps.

Competitive Landscape

The introduction of Meta AI in India comes shortly after rival Google extended its AI chatbot, Gemini, to the country, supporting nine Indian languages. These significant AI developments have followed the recent conclusion of general elections in India.

Availability and Functionality

Meta AI will be accessible in English across Meta’s major apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, as well as through the newly launched Meta.ai website. This chatbot is powered by Meta’s latest large language model, Llama 3, which was unveiled in April and rolled out to over a dozen countries including the United States, Australia, and Canada.

“With this new model, we believe that Meta AI is now the most intelligent AI assistant that you can freely use,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the announcement of the new version.

Features of Meta AI

Meta AI, first introduced in September 2023, is designed as a general-purpose assistant capable of answering a wide range of questions, generating text and images, summarizing long texts, proofreading, editing, translating text, and creating poems and stories. It integrates with personal and group chats on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, allowing users to ask for recommendations or ideas directly within their conversations.

The chatbot is also integrated into the search bars of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Users can engage with Meta AI while browsing these apps to get more information about posts, such as asking about the best time to see the northern lights in Iceland or for popular guitar songs when seeing a photo of someone playing the guitar.

Additionally, Meta AI’s Imagine feature allows users to create images from text in real time, animate existing images, iterate on them in new styles, or turn them into GIFs. This feature was initially rolled out in beta on WhatsApp and the Meta AI web experience in the United States in April.

User Feedback and Use Cases

Ryan Cairns, head of engineering for Meta’s GenAI team, shared that tens of millions of people have interacted with Meta AI during tests in India, with positive feedback on the experience. Information gathering and learning have been the top use cases, including asking factual questions, instructional how-to advice, quizzes, and tutoring.

Cairns noted that use cases vary based on the app. The Meta.ai website sees more general productivity and coding-related questions, while the chatbot within the company’s apps is used more for emotional support, responding to messages, and understanding various topics through quick queries.

Rigorous Testing and Fine-Tuning

Meta conducts rigorous testing whenever the assistant enters a new market or releases a new feature. This helps identify areas where the model performs well and where improvements are needed. Cairns emphasized the iterative process of training and fine-tuning the model to ensure it meets user needs effectively.

“It’s a very iterative process to train the model and get it right,” Cairns stated, highlighting the company’s commitment to refining Meta AI based on user feedback and performance data.

With Meta AI’s launch in India, the company is poised to enhance its AI capabilities and compete robustly in the burgeoning AI landscape, providing users with advanced tools for communication and productivity.

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