Meta launches its AI assistant to take on ChatGPT

ChatGPT started the AI chatbot race, but Meta aims to take the lead with its AI assistant. The Meta AI assistant, introduced last September, is now being integrated across Meta’s platforms, including the search boxes of Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger. It will also begin to appear directly in the main Facebook feed. Users can still chat with the assistant in the messaging inboxes of Meta’s apps, and now it’s accessible via a standalone website at

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For Meta’s assistant to be a strong competitor to ChatGPT, its underlying model must be as effective, if not superior. In that regard, Meta is launching Llama 3, the latest version of its foundational open-source model. According to Meta, Llama 3 outperforms competing models in key benchmarks and excels at tasks like coding. Two smaller Llama 3 models are available in the Meta AI assistant and to external developers, while a larger, multimodal version is set to arrive in the coming months.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasizes that the goal is to make Meta AI “the most intelligent AI assistant that people can freely use across the world.” With Llama 3, Zuckerberg believes they are achieving that vision.

Meta AI is the only chatbot that integrates real-time search results from both Bing and Google, deciding which search engine to use based on the prompt. Image generation has been improved to create animations (such as GIFs), and high-res images can now be generated as you type. A Perplexity-inspired panel of prompt suggestions, when you first open a chat window, aims to help users understand the potential of a general-purpose chatbot, according to Meta’s head of generative AI, Ahmad Al-Dahle.

While Meta AI has only been available in the US until now, it is expanding its reach by being rolled out in English to Australia, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This wider release brings Meta AI closer to reaching the company’s more than 3 billion daily users worldwide.

The approach mirrors Meta’s tactics with Stories and Reels, which were pioneered by smaller companies like Snapchat and TikTok and then adapted by Meta to become widespread. Although some view this strategy as imitative, Zuckerberg sees Meta’s vast scale and agility as its competitive advantage. This approach involves putting Meta AI everywhere and making substantial investments in foundational models.

“I don’t think that today many people really think about Meta AI when they think about the main AI assistants that people use,” Zuckerberg admits. “But I think that this is the moment where we’re really going to start introducing it to a lot of people, and I expect it to be quite a major product.”