Instagram co-founders’ app Artifact now let you discover recommended places, too | TechCrunch

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Personalized news aggregation app Artifact is taking another step to become a place to discover interesting links of all sorts, not just the latest headlines. After last month adding a way to share organic posts as well as links of any sort through the service, the AI-powered app from Instagram’s co-founders is today adding a way to also share favorite places — like a restaurant, bar, shop, or another place you want to recommend to friends.

The addition again changes the nature of the news app, which is rapidly morphing itself into a discovery engine for the broader web, if not a full-on Twitter/X competitor. It also allows Artifact users to better establish themselves as curators who can build a following on the app by sharing their recommendations, thoughts, and now, hot spots, too.

The ability to share places is now a part of the posting experience on Artifact, which lets users press a plus “+” icon to post their own titles, text, and images. At the time of its launch, Artifact suggested posts could be used to share things like restaurant reviews, how-to guides, family recipes, app breakdowns, design inspo, and more. The addition inched the app closer to X’s territory as it now became a place for organic content, with or without links. But while X has focused heavily on text-based posts over the year, Artifact recently added generative AI tools to add images to their posts in order to grab other users’ attention.

AI plays a larger role within Artifact, powering its recommendation engine and being used to rewrite clickbait headlines and summarize news stories so readers can get an overview of a given article. Today, those AI summaries will also be available when you click through a headline to read the page in the in-app Safari web browser, too, along with Artifact’s other features that allow you to comment and save articles for later. These features work both in the native mobile app and from Safari’s share extension, notes Artifact co-founder Mike Krieger in a post on Instagram Threads, announcing the updates.

As of last month, Artifact had around 400,000 mobile app downloads, according to estimates from market intelligence provider

In the months since its February 2023 public launch, the app has rapidly shipped new features, including user profiles, commenting, link sharing, posting, and more, raising the question as to whether or not the app aims to take on X head-on. Last month, Krieger said there’s “a flavor” of Twitter/X that he thought would be fun to have within Artifact, in the sense that he wants the app to help people discover if there’s a story that everyone is coalescing around that day. But he admitted the app hasn’t yet achieved that.

By chasing the long tail of news and discussions, the app is instead shaping up to be more like Flipboard, with its curated news magazines, or perhaps Pinterest, as a discovery engine for inspirational content from the web. However, without having a dedicated focus on just one area, people may end up confused as to what Artifact is for. Is it a news app? A discovery tool? A recommendations app? An X rival? And so on. Time will tell where Artifact ends up, in the meantime, it’s one of many places users can scroll for news, links, and content that interests them.



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