Summari pivots to AI-generated link previews that really click TechCrunch
- Atomic AI, which uses machine learning to explore the potential of RNA in drug discovery, raised a Series A round of $35 million.
- They developed a machine learning model that can accurately predict the structure of RNA molecules based on a limited data set.
- They have since improved their model and are using it to pursue their own drug discovery program, which is producing candidate molecules that could work to treat drug-resistant or notoriously difficult-to-treat conditions.
Having written the articles, I think they are pretty solid summaries, but short enough to (hopefully) pique your interest. Not everyone views and clicks on an article’s links, because who knows what’s relevant? Are you going to open 10 tabs just to find out? Or will you try to guess from the URL? The popup looks pretty cool to me, and it only appears when you want it to:
Here, try it live on this post – you may or may not care about football wages, but you can see it come and go. This appearance is also customized; the length of the summary, the bullet points, if and when it is triggered, all of this can be changed. So what happens when link previews get this AI-rich summary treatment?
“We’re seeing about 50% more page views,” Shrager said. “I’m quite an analytical person, and I was nervous about what we were seeing, because it’s a bit counter-intuitive. But Wikipedia did it, and it was very successful. It reduces the cost of exploration for the user.
By getting a bigger hint of what they’re going to hover over, it reduces the bump of “should I click on it or not?” The smallest bump in the world, sure, but if you told a web publisher you could increase clicks by just one percent — let alone 50 percent — they’d jump on it. Time on site and engagement are valuable metrics, and finding ways to increase them is a big part of any product manager’s job.
Different links, like affiliate links, can provide different insights, such as the pros and cons of a product summarized from the last hundred reviews. Or the external links can be left bare – perhaps (to be honest) to prevent the same click effect from benefiting them.
Shrager noted that they’ve done a lot of work under the hood to make sure the summaries don’t feature the kind of “creativity” of language models that are infamous – names, dates, quotes and doodles. other things are still kept, for example, and editing the wording is limited to places where it won’t change the meaning. “All of our valuable intellectual property is all the know-how and knowledge that is before and after the AI model,” he said.
Ultimately, although users benefit, Summari’s customers are now website operators. The company charges a flat fee for accessing the tool and then a small usage fee.
“If your average article is 1,000 words and you have five, we summarize 5,000 words and write 500, and we charge maybe 50 cents,” Shrager offered as a very vague example of the scale. “We try to ensure that the overall price de minimis so it’s not a barrier to a sale – the only way to scale quickly is to find great distribution channels.
After its initial partners, Summari is expected to go live on a major academic publisher and a major news site, both anonymous. “We’re definitely noticing FOMO across the industry,” Shrager said. “There are people who are sniffling, starting to see the value. There is a natural network effect as the backlinks are abstracted. Once TechCrunch has summed up its use of us, you wouldn’t want to turn it off and start all over again.
I suggested that with major tech players like Microsoft and Google playing big in AI, the company shouldn’t be surprised to have a deal or two slipped under the door. After all, summaries like these would look great in search engines or an algorithmically curated news site. But Shrager said they weren’t looking for a quick exit.
“My job is to maximize shareholder value. If I get a tempting offer from Google or Yahoo, that could be of huge strategic advantage…I’m not stupid, I’d go for it. But everyone here is aiming for the big win.