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Snapchat launches a new generative AI feature, ‘My AI Snaps,’ for paid subscribers

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person onstage at Snap Summit 2023
Image Credits: Snap

Snapchat today announced the launch of a new generative AI feature that will allow Snapchat+ subscribers to send Snaps of what they’re up to in order to receive a generative Snap back from the in-app chatbot, My AI. The feature was previewed at last month’s Snap Partner Summit along with the news that the My AI feature itself is now free to all users, but a release date was not offered at the time.

Prior to today’s release of the new generative AI feature, Snap rolled out a number of other AI-infused updates across the Snapchat app, including the ability to add My AI chatbot into group chats with friends, where it can be summoned with an @ mention, as well as the ability to use AI for place recommendations and Lens suggestions. Plus, the My AI chatbot was recently updated to be able to reply to users’ Snaps with a text-based reply.

Now, with the paid subscription to Snapchat+, My AI can return a photo as well.

The feature doesn’t seem to have much value beyond entertainment purposes, as the only suggestions that Snap CEO Evan Spiegel demoed at the Snap Partner Summit involved sending a photo of your dog to receive a funny dog photo in return, and sending a Snap of vegetables in your garden to get a recipe suggestion.

The recipe suggestions feature sounds the most promising from a practical perspective, but it’s unclear how well the AI will handle pics from your “latest grocery haul,” as Snap describes it.

Image Credits: Snap

In today’s announcement in Snap’s Newsroom, the company also suggests you could send My AI a photo of your “pizza, OOTD,” or “your furry best friend.”

It’s also unclear to what extent Snap has implemented strong guardrails around the My AI generative photo feature. This could be a concern for parents of teens, as other generative AI apps, like Lensa AI, have been easily tricked into making NSFW images.

Following reports that My AI had been responding in an unsafe manner, Snap promised to introduce insights into its Family Center parental controls hub to help parents and guardians stay informed about their kids’ interactions with the My AI chatbot. But as of the global launch of My AI to all Snapchat users in April, the company has still not done so. And it hasn’t indicated when the Family Center controls would go live, only noting they are still in the works. Update: Snapchat said the Family Center integration is now live, despite what its own documentation stated. Parents can choose to see if their teen chatted with the AI in the last 7 days.

There are other privacy considerations to take into account when using AI chatbots. Snap warned users it was saving all their messages with My AI until the user manually deletes them, and the same holds true for the new generative photos experience, as well, the company notes.

In addition, Snap discloses that “While [My AI] was designed to avoid biased, incorrect, harmful, or misleading information, mistakes may occur, so please do not rely on it for advice.”

My AI has not been universally well-received by Snapchat’s own users, as they slammed the app with one-star reviews after its rollout, complaining about the bot being pinned to the top of their Chats, where they can’t remove it or block it. Snap may be hoping that the My AI Snaps feature will help to improve user sentiment around the My AI experience.

The new generative AI feature is only available to Snapchat+ subscribers, the $3.99/month in-app subscription that offers a variety of Snapchat enhancements, including things like the option to pin a No. 1 Best Friend, a Story Rewatch indicator, custom app icons and a theme editor, Priority Story Replies, a Snapchat+ badge and much more.

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