Saturday, March 2, 2024

Artifact shuts down and Particle raises $4.4M

Artifact closed shop in January 2024. Particle just announced a $4.4M round. Interesting! 

I used Artifact about 5 days and churned once it became clear the content it surfaced wasn't novel or high-quality. I could find the same stories on the websites I habitually visited and trust, while avoiding the junk.

Questions that spring to my mind:

In theory, the promise of an AI-driven content recommender is that it doesn’t matter how much dreck is out there: the goal is to only surface the good stuff. That raises a further question: was Artifact’s AI just not good enough, or is there simply not that much good content on the web these days? The answer is probably a bit of both, but there is a reason I made the case last week that content businesses that succeed on the Internet do so by credibly offering a guarantee of the ongoing production of content you will like. For now that means having an integrated branded offering, like the New York Times or Stratechery; both models are in stark contrast to Artifact, which had no integration into content creation and simply attempted to skim the best of the open web. It may be the case that there just isn’t that much good stuff out there.

[The Verge] Instagram’s co-founders are shutting down their Artifact news app

The app used an AI-driven approach to suggest news that users might like to read, but it seems it didn’t catch on with enough people for the Artifact team to continue making the app.
“We have built something that a core group of users love, but we have concluded that the market opportunity isn’t big enough to warrant continued investment in this way,” CEO Kevin Systrom says in a blog post.

[Tech Crunch] Former Twitter engineers are building Particle, an AI-powered news reader, backed by $4.4M, which entered into private beta over the weekend, is a new startup offering a personalized, “multi-perspective” news reading experience that not only leverages AI to summarize the news, but also aims to do so in a way that fairly compensates authors and publishers.