Ubaid Zargar

Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, and now Meta: Are consumers lost for AI choices?

As Meta’s AI makes its way to India, here is what industry experts have to say about the new entrant.

Meta has finally rolled out its AI chatbot, Meta AI assistant, to users in India, integrating it seamlessly across popular applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, as well as offering a dedicated website at Meta.AI. This development comes after the Facebook parent company initially unveiled its GenAI tool over two months ago, launching it in countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Meta AI offers a comprehensive suite of features denoted by a blue ring visible on WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, allowing users to conduct searches, gain insights, and interact with posts across these platforms. Built with Meta Llama 3, Meta is providing its AI services for free. Users can leverage Meta AI to accomplish tasks, learn new things, create content, and connect with their interests, all through familiar Meta applications already on their phones.

Before Meta AI's debut, the GenAI market was already crowded with major tech players like Google, OpenAI, and Microsoft. Each of these companies introduced its own AI platform with fundamentally similar services.

Google's Gemini

Launched in December 2023, Google’s Gemini AI assistant is built on the powerful LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) architecture. LaMDA leverages extensive training on diverse datasets to provide nuanced understanding and generation of human language. Additionally, Gemini integrates with Google’s Knowledge Graph, enhancing its ability to provide contextual information and personalised recommendations. The system is supported by TensorFlow, Google’s open-source machine learning framework, ensuring scalability and performance.

OpenAI's ChatGPT

Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is based on OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and subsequent iterations of the Generative Pre-trained Transformer models. These models utilise a transformer architecture, allowing the AI to process and generate text with a high degree of coherence and relevance. OpenAI has employed reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) to fine-tune ChatGPT, making it more adept at following user instructions and generating helpful, safe responses.

Microsoft's Copilot

Launched in February 2023, Microsoft Copilot integrates AI capabilities into the Microsoft 365 suite using technologies from OpenAI’s GPT-4 model. The AI is embedded into applications like Word, Excel, and Outlook, enhancing productivity by automating routine tasks and providing intelligent suggestions. Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform underpins Copilot, offering scalability, security, and integration with enterprise environments. Azure’s machine learning services further enable continuous improvement and customisation of Copilot’s features.

X's Grok

Launched in November 2023, Grok by X utilises a proprietary AI engine designed to deliver concise and actionable insights. The platform focuses on efficiency and accuracy, aiming to provide users with quick, relevant information. Grok’s infrastructure supports real-time data processing, ensuring timely and reliable outputs.

With the introduction of Meta AI, consumers now have an abundance of AI assistants to choose from. Each platform, while offering similar core functionalities, differentiates itself through unique integrations and specific strengths. But where does Meta fit into the larger mix of AI landscape? And more importantly, with every other tech giant seemingly coming up with its own AI platform, are consumers spoilt for choice?

Industry speaks:

Rajiv Dhingra, founder and CEO, ReBid, an Advertisers' Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Meta’s entry into the AI space is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it underscores the growing importance and ubiquitous nature of AI in today’s digital ecosystem. Meta's unique advantage lies in its vast and integrated ecosystem comprising WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. This integration allows Meta to leverage a massive amount of user data, providing more personalised and contextually relevant AI experiences. Additionally, these platforms have already established trust and familiarity with users, which can make the adoption of Meta’s AI tools more seamless.

However, the proliferation of AI tools does pose the risk of consumer fatigue. With so many options available, consumers can become overwhelmed and may struggle to differentiate between the offerings of various AI platforms. However, this also pushes AI firms to continually innovate and provide more value to stand out.

Rajiv Dhingra
Rajiv Dhingra

Currently, consumers expect AI to be intuitive, reliable, and capable of offering tangible benefits. They are looking for AI solutions that can enhance productivity, provide personalised experiences, and offer real-time assistance. Transparency and the ethical use of data are also paramount concerns. Firms that can meet these expectations while maintaining user trust will likely succeed in this competitive landscape.

Kushal Sanghvi, a mentor at Niti Aayog , ex-head India SEA, CitrusAd, an auction-based advertising platform

There is a lot of discussion around AI now. Having said that, every other company is trying to create its very own platform. For Meta, the advantage is its enormous user base on its social networking platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, or Instagram, especially in a country like India. Today, there are still millions of people in the country that don’t even know what AI is. The opportunity for Meta, with its AI being integrated into its social media platforms, is that it can enable the enormous number of its users to try their hands at the AI tool, and perhaps familiarise themselves with the new tech.

For newer users, especially in tier-2 and beyond, this is their first brush to experiment with, and maybe move on to other AI tools available on the market. The wars of AI are just beginning. You have Google, Microsoft, and other companies pouring in, and the advantage is always with the power of plenty. Let us also not forget that AI has been around for a long time now. Tools such as Semrush (an SaaS platform used for keyword research, competitive analysis, site audits, backlink tracking, and comprehensive online visibility insights), HubSpot (an American developer and marketer of software products for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service), among others, which the industry has been using for years.

Kushal Sanghvi
Kushal Sanghvi

There may as well be millions of other companies trying to come up with their own AI tech stacks, but the fact of the matter is, with time, AI is only going to become that much more important and streamlined into our everyday lives.

Sajal Gupta, chief executive, Kiaos Marketing, a digital marketing consultancy

When you look at Meta AI, it is built in a manner where it leverages various assets available in Meta platforms. That is the clear advantage Meta AI brings over any other platform. What it also does is unfold a certain number of features that enable marketers to virtually just have a conversation with a consumer. It also brings the marketer into an area beyond advertising such as customer service. The proper optimisation of AI can dramatically improve brand-consumer engagement.

Customer service bots existed before any of these platforms came into existence. But, to integrate those bots into other avenues such as WhatsApp chat required a different layer of tech. With Meta’s AI, the integration is seamless without any further development required. More than customer service, a brand can even go into informational conversations with consumers. For instance, companies can start disseminating a certain amount of content among their users. 

Sajal Gupta
Sajal Gupta

As for consumers feeling any sort of AI fatigue, the key is to integrate AI so seamlessly into your toolkit that it appears as natural as it possibly can. From a consumer’s perspective, if the tools are implemented well, the experience will only improve.

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