Snapchat announced that its AI-powered chatbot, My AI, is now available to the Snapchat community.
Early reactions have been positive, and the company is grateful for the feedback that will help improve the chatbot experience. There have been questions about how My AI uses location information, and Snapchat has taken steps to clarify the process.
My AI does not collect new location data; it only uses the location information that Snapchat users have already agreed to share, the company says. This same data is used for the Snap Map feature, which allows users to share their location with friends on the app. To ensure transparency, Snapchat has updated My AI to clearly indicate when it is aware of a user’s location and when it isn’t.
“Privacy is a foundational value for us — it is critical to our core use case of helping people visually communicate with their friends and family,” the press release explained. Snapchat aims to minimize data collection and is committed to being transparent about how each product uses user data.
For all Snapchat users, location-sharing is turned off by default. Snapchat can only access a user’s location if they share it. If users decide to share their location, it can be used to enhance their Snapchat experience through geographically relevant features like Lenses, search, and personalized ads. Snapchat’s Snap Map feature lets users selectively share their location with friends on the app, but not with contacts who aren’t already mutual friends.
When users interact with My AI for the first time, they receive a notice that the chatbot may use information shared with Snapchat to personalize responses. If users share their location with Snapchat, My AI can provide personalized location recommendations in response to specific requests. For instance, if a user asks My AI for local Italian restaurant recommendations, the chatbot can offer suggestions based on the user’s location and nearby places on Snap Map.
However, if users stop sharing their location, there may be a slight delay before this takes effect in My AI.
Small business owners could benefit from this feature, as it could drive more foot traffic to their physical locations. Local businesses could be suggested if a Snapchat user asks My AI for recommendations in their area. This could be particularly beneficial for restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses that rely on local customers.
Snapchat encourages feedback about My AI and urges users to report inaccurate responses. The ultimate goal is to make My AI more accurate, fun, and useful for its users. This focus on user experience and data privacy could set a new standard for implementing and using AI chatbots, with potential benefits for both users and small businesses.
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