Instagram's co-founders unveil a revolutionary social app...crafted exclusively for immersive news consumption!

Can a lightning strike twice? That seems to be the question being asked today with the release of the new social app from Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, the co-founders of Instagram. According to a report in The Verge, the two have started a new business to investigate social apps. Their first offering is a tailored news reader called Artifact.

Instagram's co-founders unveil a revolutionary social app...crafted exclusively for immersive news consumption!
Artifact AI News App
Although the software itself is not yet accessible to the general public, interested users can sign up for a waitlist. According to the description, it sounds like a contemporary take on Google Reader, a discontinued RSS newsreader that Google discontinued in 2013. With one exception: Artifact is marketed as a newsreader that incorporates social features to enable users to share articles they come across with friends and use machine learning to tailor the experience for the end user. (To be fair, Google Reader offered a similar capability, but adding RSS feeds directly required programming on the part of the user.)

According to an article on The Verge, Artifact will first offer a carefully chosen collection of news pieces, but these will gradually adapt to the user's interests. While some of the items may be from smaller websites, some will likely originate from well-known newspapers like The New York Times. Additional important features will be the ability to moderate comments, have separate feeds with the articles and commentary of people you follow, and have a direct message inbox for more private discussion of postings.

The idea appears to share some similarities with one of Twitter's most extensive use cases, which involves talking about news. It also comes at a time when users of Twitter are looking at other options following Elon Musk's takeover of the app, which has caused the user base to become estranged from some long-time users due to Musk's haphazard modifications to the app's policies and roadmap.

However, as it is now described, Artifact doesn't seem entirely unique; in addition to seeming like a contemporary take on a Google Reader-style experience, it would compete with a number of other news reading applications, both new and old, that offer customization features, such as Flipboard, SmartNews, and Newsbreak. It also has a similar vibe to Matter, a more recent rival of Pocket that combines news reading with commentary and well chosen recommendations. Now, even Substack has taken advantage of Twitter's instability by introducing an in-app chat feature for its writers and viewers. ByteDance's Toutiao has shown success with the model overseas, but it would be challenging to create a U.S. equivalent

Naturally, the new app would also face off against the massive social network Meta, which Instagram's co-founders departed from back in 2018. Today, billions of people communicate and engage with news and information on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and, to a lesser extent, other social media platforms, among updates from the brands and businesses they follow, friends, and family.

That implies that, despite Artifact's potential for differentiation and polish, it may still encounter intense competition in a market where users already have access to built-in news apps from Google News and Apple News.

The pair, according to The Verge's story, thinks that Artifact might benefit from recent advancements in machine learning technology, much like how algorithmic recommendations helped TikTok become a well-known app.

Although it's debatable if TikTok's customized For You feed is addictive, the video app's rise was spurred by record-breaking marketing spending on user acquisition, which in 2018 reached $1 billion annually, according to The Wall Street Journal. Even with exceptional founders, a firm might not have as much firewood to burn. Furthermore, in a time when younger Gen Z users are frequently turning to entertainment apps like TikTok to keep informed on news and global events, news reading itself looks to be a bit of a passé sector to pursue.

It's also entering a polarized news industry, with the founders promising to make "subjective" and "hard" decisions about the material on their platform.

Nevertheless, it's hard to ignore the achievements of the people who created Instagram, which at $1 billion was one of the biggest social media purchases of the past and has, for better or evil, changed how people use social media worldwide.

Artifact is still in its early stages of development and has not yet been commercialized, however a revenue share with publishers was suggested as a potential solution. (Where did we previously hear that one?)

Since the founders plan to test various innovative social goods through their new firm, it appears that the app's success alone may or may not matter in the end.

"On the Artifact website, users with U.S. phone numbers (+1) can currently register."

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post