Meta's AI chatbot is reaching more WhatsApp users worldwide

WhatsApp logo on an Android phone
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is apparently enhancing its search functionality with Meta AI, initially rolling out to English-speaking users worldwide.
  • Despite the AI upgrade, users can still navigate WhatsApp traditionally, ensuring continuity and ease of use for finding messages, groups, and contacts.
  • Meta is also extending Meta AI testing beyond WhatsApp to Instagram and Messenger users in specific regions.

Meta appears to be trying out Meta AI, its answer to ChatGPT that it launched last year, with more WhatsApp users globally.

Meta AI is showing up in the messaging app's search bar for more English-speaking users worldwide after initially limiting it to certain regions, according to WABetaInfo. This means WhatsApp is giving its search a big boost with some serious AI power.

Even though WhatsApp's search bar is getting an AI upgrade, you can still find what you need the old way, the report says. Finding messages, groups, and contacts will supposedly work just like before.

It seems like WhatsApp is testing different ways for people to access Meta AI. In India, some users can find it in the top right corner of the Chats tab, as shown below.

Whatsapp Meta AI integration with the search bar

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

At this point, it's uncertain whether WhatsApp will keep offering Meta AI through both the search bar and the app bar icon in future releases. Presumably, this helps Meta figure out which way people like it best and how to make Meta AI the easiest to use.

The experiment seems to be active for both iOS and Android users. WABetaInfo further notes that Meta AI works independently and won't remember your past chats.

Meta is said to be putting privacy first with this experiment. The company is only collecting information if you choose to chat with the AI, and even the suggestions you see are just random; Meta is apparently not tracking your WhatsApp activity to come up with them.

Besides WhatsApp, Meta is testing Meta AI with Instagram and Messenger users in India and certain parts of Africa, as reported by TechCrunch. According to a Meta representative, the social media giant is publicly testing various generative AI-powered experiences in a "limited capacity."

This all suggests Meta is planning to use its massive user base across different apps to make its AI offerings even better in the future. We might even see some AI image editing features from Instagram show up in WhatsApp soon.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.