Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, best known as the masterminds behind one of the world’s most popular social media apps – Instagram – are reportedly working on a new news reading app called Artifact.
It’s been more than 8 years since the two entrepreneurs sold their baby to Facebook – now known as Meta Platforms (META) – and just 4 years since they left the parent company of their app after having some differences with the management.
It now appears that the pair is ready to get back to work as they are reportedly building a company that will pursue new endeavors in the social applications space. This time, they have come up with a product that aims to make news reading a more personalized experience for users.
Artifact is still in the making and it will reportedly use machine learning technology to create highly customized news feeds for users to browse. The app will be available for both Android and iOS devices and those who want to give it a try can join the waitlist already on the app’s official website.
For new users, the app will be fed by articles from top publishers such as the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and USA Today. However, once the user starts to click on the articles he is interested in, the algorithm will adjust his preferences to deliver similar content in the future.
Artifact Will Incorporate Social Features into the App Soon
Even though the beta version only incorporates the news feed for now, Systrom told The Verge that they are focusing on developing two features that will take the news reading experience to the next level.
The first, and perhaps more interesting, of these upcoming upgrades is a direct messaging tool that will allow users to share their favorite news with friends and engage in interesting discussions about their content.
This would make Artifact a direct competitor to Twitter and even Facebook as people can both read news and discuss them by using these two platforms, even though this is not necessarily their primary use case.
Moreover, it will also be possible to follow other users and see what they are posting in real time in a separate feed. This creates room for the rise of independent journalists who may even be compensated for sharing their content within the platform.
Some tech experts have compared Artifact with Google Reader – an app that was shut down by Alphabet (GOOG) in July 2013 amid low usage. However, Google’s product required that users added their preferred RSS feeds instead of pushing content directly and refining it based on the user’s preferences.
In any case, Artifact could have a tough time differentiating itself from existing products and platforms. For example, there is Flipboard and Feedly, two popular apps used for similar purposes, which is making all of the user’s favorite news accessible in a single app.
Systrom and Krieger Were Waiting for New Trends in the Tech Space
According to The Verge’s Casey Newton, Systrom and Krieger have been waiting for new trends to pop up in the tech space before putting themselves to work. This new wave could be artificial intelligence and its many use cases to improve the industry of social apps.
Artificial intelligence is already changing how people’s feeds work on social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok as the content that is displayed is no longer limited to the people they follow.
Instead, an algorithm has been designed to keep track of the user’s preferences and tastes to regularly show content from other accounts the user does not follow but whose content may be considered relevant and/or interesting.
This is what Systrom and Krieger believe will revolutionize how social apps work and it is exactly what they are attempting to do with Artifact – create a highly personalized news feed that shows the user exactly what they want to read.
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