April 16, 2024
Elon Musk says xAI's chatbot 'Grok' will launch to X Premium+ subscribers next week


Shortly after X announced its plans to test a three-tiered subscription service, X owner Elon Musk teased that his new AI chatbot, xAI’s Grok, would be part of the top-tier subscription, X Premium+. Now we’re getting a first look at what Grok may look like when launched inside the X app, courtesy of new screenshots that show the feature in development on X’s website.

The AI chatbot, which is Musk’s answer to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, Anthropic’s Claude and others, answers questions in a conversational mode, but is said to have more of a personality. As the xAI team described it, Grok is modeled after “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and is designed to respond “with a bit of a wit” and has a “rebellious streak.” It also plans to answer “spicy” questions that are rejected by other AI systems, the company noted. Most importantly, Grok will have access to real-time knowledge via the X platform and through web browsing capabilities.

Grok was first released on November 4 to a select group of testers, but Musk announced in a post on X that all X Premium+ subscribers would gain access to Grok in the future. X Premium+ is one of the new subscription offerings introduced at X, alongside the existing X Premium subscription and a more affordable X Basic subscription.

While the $3 per month Basic subscription includes features like the edit button and the ability to post longer articles and videos, it doesn’t offer ad removal and its reply-boosting capabilities are weaker than on X Premium. The standard subscription (the $8 per month X Premium), meanwhile, removes half the ads in the For You and Following feeds in addition to supporting all of Basic’s features and adds the Verification checkmark.

X Premium+ is the highest-priced subscription at $16 per month or $168 per year as it removes all the ads in the For You and Following feeds and introduces a Creator Hub where users can get paid to post and can offer their fans subscriptions.

The addition of Grok into this tier could make the offering more compelling to non-creators, as well, X likely hopes.

Musk had not said when Grok would launch to X subscribers, but a screenshot shows that work is already underway to integrate Grok into the X app. According to app researcher Nima Owji, Grok was added to the X web app’s code just yesterday, and its URL will be twitter.com/i/grok. He also published a screenshot showing how Grok will be integrated into the web app for Premium+ subscribers — the chatbot’s icon appears on the left-side navigation bar underneath Home, Search, Notifications and Messages. The icon stands out as it’s a solid black square with a white slash, while the other X icons are only outlined in black.

Non-subscribers who click the icon will see a message that reads “Subscribe to Premium+ to get access to Grok,” one screenshot shows. In another, a subscriber with access to Grok will see a basic chatbot interface where you can type into a box to “Ask Grok” a question. There also appears to be a history button at the top right which presumably would allow users to revisit their past queries.

While we already knew that Grok would be made available to Premium+ subscribers in the months ahead, the fact that it’s already being developed in the X web application may indicate that it will launch sooner rather than later, or perhaps will be made available to some testers ahead of a public debut on X.

X does not respond to requests for comment, as Musk laid off its comms team shortly after acquiring the company. However, X’s help documentation states that access to Grok is “coming soon” on the Premium+ tier.

Grok’s further development comes shortly after a weekend of drama surrounding the leading AI company, OpenAI, whose board unexpectedly ousted CEO Sam Altman over concerns about the pace of AI innovation and a breakdown in communications. Altman may join OpenAI partner Microsoft to lead an AI team there instead, but things are still in motion.





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