Quartz has released it’s first news app for the iPhone. That in itself is not spectaculair, almost everybody creates apps nowadays especially news organisations. However the concept that Quartz uses is unique. Though it is not the current state of the app that gets me excited it is the next state.
Quartz for iPhone has all of that. It’s an ongoing conversation about the news, sort of like texting: We’ll send you messages, photos, GIFs, and links, and you can tap to respond when you’re interested in learning more about a topic. Each session lasts just a few minutes, so it’s perfect for the train, elevator, grocery store line, or wherever you have a spare moment to catch up on the news.
Messaging is not unique
Of course messaging is not unique. There are plenty of apps doing messaging and there are news services leveraging messaging platforms to distribute their news. For me what it makes unique is the interaction with the messages / news events. With every message a little feedback is collected that gives you either more information on the news event or brings you to the next.
AI is coming to speak with you
Of course you don’t want to answer with standardised messages, nor do you want to have a conversation about topic you are not interested in. You want to have a conversation that feels more human than just pushing some buttons.
However to get there, you first have to be comfortable to be in such a situation and that is this stage of the app. It conditions you to interact in a message style with news. It might be the first time that you are doing this, so you better used to it in a comfortable way.
Though I don’t think it will stop with messaging. It might end up to be more conversational and very difficult to distinct from an actual person such as the AI presented in ‘Her’. Though before getting there it will need a lot of information and it gets that information by every response you give to a message.