Meta to Introduce Free AI Chatbots on WhatsApp

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Smartphone showing ChatGPT app with user multitasking: messaging, browsing, and note-taking icons around.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is set to introduce free artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots on WhatsApp. This initiative is part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s broader strategy to monetize messaging apps by integrating AI technology.

Key Takeaways

  • Meta is offering its AI model and chatbot for free, unlike its competitors.
  • The new AI tools will leverage user behavior on Facebook and Instagram to optimize ad delivery on WhatsApp.
  • Meta plans to integrate Brazil’s digital payment method PIX into WhatsApp.
  • The company is testing the AI chatbot in India and other countries.

Meta’s AI Strategy

Meta’s approach to AI is distinct from its competitors. By giving away its AI model and chatbot for free, Meta aims to attract businesses to use these tools for customer relations. This move is an early test of Zuckerberg’s efforts to infuse AI into Meta’s apps in ways that could eventually generate revenue.

Monetizing WhatsApp

WhatsApp, Meta’s largest app in terms of daily users, has contributed only a small portion of Meta’s total revenue despite its popularity. To address this, Meta has introduced various commerce and payment features on the app, including business messaging tools for customer service and marketing. The new AI chatbot will allow businesses to automate communications, streamlining the process of answering common inquiries and providing assistance with tasks like finding catalogs or checking business hours.

Integration with PIX

Meta announced that it will integrate Brazil’s digital payment method PIX into its WhatsApp payment tool. PIX accounted for approximately 39% of transactions in Brazil last year and offers services similar to WhatsApp payments, including money transfers and purchases from companies. This addition demonstrates Meta’s commitment to expanding its payment services within WhatsApp.

Testing in India

Meta has started testing its AI-powered chatbot in India, following an initial phase of restricted trials in the US. The feature is available for iOS and Android beta testers who have installed the latest beta version of the app. The chatbot is designed to integrate suggestions and prompts to facilitate user interaction with Meta AI directly from the search interface.

Future Prospects

Meta’s AI strategy includes plans to expand the number of businesses that can use AI to chat with customers through WhatsApp. The company also aims to allow users of its WhatsApp Business app to use AI to create ads. By giving away AI ad-creation tools, Meta hopes to enable more businesses to make ads and pay Meta to promote their businesses.

Meta’s AI strategy is part of a broader effort to generate revenue from messaging apps. The company has already seen success with its click-to-message ads, which have reached $10 billion a year in sales. With the introduction of AI chatbots, Meta aims to further boost sales generated from messaging.

Conclusion

Meta’s introduction of free AI chatbots on WhatsApp represents a significant shift in its strategy to monetize messaging apps. By leveraging AI technology, Meta aims to attract businesses to use its tools for customer relations and ad creation, ultimately generating revenue. The integration of Brazil’s PIX payment method and testing in India further demonstrate Meta’s commitment to expanding its services and reaching a broader audience.

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