Character.AI, the trailblazing AI chatbot startup backed by a16z and spearheaded by former Google AI researchers, has just dropped a game-changing feature for its dedicated subscribers. This innovative chatbot platform, renowned for offering customizable AI companions with distinctive personalities and a toolkit for personalization, now introduces a group chat feature. This new capability empowers users and their friends to engage in dynamic conversations with multiple AI characters simultaneously.
Elevating Social Connections through AI Companions
The Character Group Chat feature, as it’s been aptly named, empowers users to create group chats with their cherished AI characters exclusively, or it can encompass a fusion of both humans and AI companions, according to the company. The concept is simple yet groundbreaking: users can now establish social connections with their friends or partake in real-time discussions, idea sharing, and collaboration, much like any other group chat experience, but with their trusty AI companions now in the mix.
The possibilities are as limitless as the human imagination. Picture AI scientists and visionaries like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla, and Stephen Hawking conversing, or envision a group chat featuring mythological deities such as Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon.
Practical Applications for AI Group Chats
For more pragmatic use cases, you can commence a group chat with friends revolving around a specific topic or theme—be it travel, gaming, book clubs, or role-playing—and then invite an AI companion to facilitate and enhance those discussions.
It’s important to note that the concept of integrating AI chatbots into group chats is not unique to Character.AI. Snapchat’s My AI chatbot can be seamlessly added to group chats with a simple command, while Meta recently introduced a slew of new AI-powered bots across its apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram’s DMs. These AI bots span the gamut, from celebrity personas like Mr. Beast, Paris Hilton, Tom Brady, Charli D’Amelio, to Snoop Dog, among others. This move, announced at Meta’s Connect conference in late September, posed potential competition for Character.AI, a company that had already secured an impressive $150 million in Series A funding earlier in the year, solidifying its position as an AI companion pioneer.
Subscription-Based Model and Future Availability
However, Character.AI’s groundbreaking group chat experience is not offered for free. Instead, it will initially be made available exclusively to c.ai+ subscribers to solicit valuable feedback and further enhancements. The c.ai+ subscription, priced at $9.99 per month, offers subscribers perks such as skipping waiting queues, faster message generation, and access to an exclusive community channel for feedback and support, among other benefits. The company has plans to eventually make this feature accessible to the general public.
At its launch, Character Group Chat is exclusively available on the Character.AI mobile app for iOS and Android but will eventually extend to web platforms.
Explosive Growth and User Adoption
Character.AI’s app saw a phenomenal half-million installs within its first six days and is rapidly gaining ground, even in the highly competitive U.S. market. Third-party data from market intelligence provider data.ai reveals that the app boasts nearly 30 million monthly active users worldwide, with around 7 million in the U.S. The company estimates its lifetime gross in-app purchase revenue at $1.3 million, with the caveat that c.ai+ is sold on the web, making this a partial snapshot of its overall revenue. This meteoric growth and user adoption are a testament to the innovative strides Character.AI is making in the AI companion space.
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