Tech

X plans to more deeply integrate Grok’s AI, app researcher finds

Elon Musk’s X is exploring more ways to integrate xAI’s Grok into the social networking app. According to a series of recent discoveries, X is developing new features like the ability to ask Grok about X accounts, use Grok by highlighting text in the app, and access Grok’s chatbot through a pop-up on the side of the screen while continuing to use other parts of X.

The findings were recently shared by independent app researcher Nima Owji. He often tweets his own ideas about features he’d like to see on X. In this case, however, Owji says he discovered the new additions on X’s website on Friday, July 5, but confirmed to TechCrunch they are not yet rolled out to the public, as far as he can tell.

In one example, Owji found that Grok could be used via a pop-up on the right of the screen while you’re browsing X, similar to how you can check your DMs (direct messages) from the app’s home screen via a smaller window overlaid on top of the screen.

This format resembles how other companies like Google and Microsoft use chatbots within their productivity apps, where access to their AI chatbots is often available in a sidebar to the right of the screen, putting the AI chatbot within easy reach. This placement could allow X users to chat with Grok more often, including when posting to the app or browsing the timeline and coming across new information they wanted to learn more about.

Other developments show how Grok could become a more deeply integrated part of the X experience.

In one case, Owji found it was being used to research X user profiles, and in another, it was used for searching terms you find within posts on X.

For instance, one new development would allow users to click a button to learn more about an account on X, though it’s not exactly clear what information will be included or excluded in the account summary provided. (Presumably, you could ask Grok today about an account on X to get an idea about how this forthcoming feature may work).

Perhaps more interesting is the built-in ability to search Grok simply by highlighting a word found in an X post.

In this case, you could drag your cursor across a term (or terms), and then click on the “Ask Grok” button that appears below the word to kick off a search with the chatbot. This would make it easier to ask Grok about news and information you saw on X, or any other topics where you wanted to dig deeper.

X last year added Elon Musk’s Grok to the app, formerly known as Twitter, initially as a way to boost paid subscriptions on the Premium Plus plan. With rising competition from OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, and others, X in March expanded access to Grok to include mid-tier Premium subscribers, as well.

Despite the broadened availability, app intelligence firm Appfigures found that X’s in-app purchase revenue was still trending down as of May 2024.

According to its data, X saw $7.6 million in net revenue this May, down from $8 million in April, and $8.2 million in March. Appfigures theorized this decline could be due to how creators on X are incentivized to post to generate income, which has led many to post often but with little substance in order to increase their views. The firm also noted that the Premium subscription price could be turning off some users. X also has more competitors than ever, with apps like Instagram’s Threads, Mastodon, and startups like Bluesky and more recently, noplace, building text-first social apps of their own.

However, it could be that X is still recovering from its name change, as users continue to seek out an app known as “Twitter.” In May, X saw 3 million downloads on the App Store, down from 4.4 million a year ago — a 32% drop, Appfigures noted.

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