A few days ago Artifact, the startup by Instagram's co-founders, just hit the beta market on the play store and app store and I immediately downloaded it and I have some thoughts. You can get it from artifact.news.
For one, I was really excited. I am a big fan of reading and blogging. Artifact seemed something that was lacking. Now it is true that Artifact rides the same AI train everyone is nowadays, but the way it uses AI, is quite discrete and I love it.
Instagram for News?
One thing Artifact is being sold as it the Instagram of news. Which is true to a certain extent. It first asked me for my news preferences. Artifact then asked me to read 25 articles for it to be able to customize my feed, and that's what I did. The initial article I was expecting to be trash, but the default data is quite good too. It also gave me an option to select if I had any subscriptions to pay walled news outlets like NY Times, and apparently it recommends this in my feed more often. I found this feature to be quite cool too.
The interface as you can see is quite clean and I love it. It is clean, neat, and readable.
Now, the recommendation engine is quite good, and I have had no problems with it so far. Think of it as a milder version of Instagram's algorithm, but still powerful. It has the same fundamental principles, it records each and every click as user preference, does forget and is so very good at understanding immediate moods.
So if I start reading more tech articles on the home feed, it immediately starts recommending more tech articles as I scroll, and I love it! I have started reading articles for nearly an hour or two by just scrolling. The founders were not kidding when they said it's the Instagram of news.
Now, algorithm aside, Artifact is essentially a tweaked and sometimes slower version of chrome. It basically loads articles directly to the website. Although there is a reader mode, it is hidden for some reason under the share button.
Directly opening the article
One can also argue that having an app for only news that is powered a very powerful algorithm increases the tendency to doom scroll and all the other psychological effects that come with it. Now, this might not be true for everyone, but still worth mentioning.
Moreover, there is such less option to customize the interface, customize the font and reader mode and many such essential features are missing. Adding them would be awesome.
Artifact is still in beta and I hope they fix their issues and hopefully, we have a good news aggregator powered by AI. I personally love Artifact and have been using it a lot. Let me know if you are too!
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