May 23, 2024
Meta is testing an AI-powered search bar in Instagram


Meta is pushing ahead with its efforts to make its generative AI-powered products available to more users. 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. The design of the prompt screen prompted Perplexity AI’s CEO, Aravind Srinivas, to point out that the interface uses a design similar to the startup’s search screen.

But beyond that, it could also help you discover new content on Instagram. For instance, a video on Threads posted by a user indicates that you can tap on a prompt like “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels” to search for Reels related to that topic.

Separately, a few users TechCrunch talked to were able to ask Meta AI to search for Reels suggestions.

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This means that Meta plans to tap the power of generative AI beyond text generation and use it for surfacing new content from network like Instagram.

Meta confirmed its Meta AI experiment on Instagram with TechCrunch. However, the company didn’t specify if it is using generative AI tech in search.

“Our generative AI-powered experiences are under development in varying phases, and we’re testing a range of them publicly in a limited capacity,” a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch.

You can find a ton of posts about the quality of Instagram search. So, it would not be surprising if Meta wants to use generative AI to improve search.

Also, Meta would want Instagram to have better discoverability than TikTok. Last year, Google introduced a new perspectives feature to surface results from Reddit and TikTok. Earlier this week, reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi noted on X that Instagram is working on an option called “Visibility off Instagram” to possibly show posts as part of search engine results.





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