Yahoo is buying Artifact, the AI news app from the Instagram co-founders

From The Verge: Instagram’s co-founders built a powerful and useful tool for recommending news to readers — but could never quite get it to scale. Yahoo has hundreds of millions of readers — but could use a dose of tech-forward cool to separate it from all the internet’s other news aggregators. And so, the two sides are joining forces: Yahoo is acquiring Artifact, the companies announced on Tuesday.

The two sides declined to share the cost of the acquisition, but both made clear Yahoo is acquiring Artifact’s tech rather than its team. Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, Artifact’s co-founders, will be “special advisors” for Yahoo but won’t be joining the company. Artifact’s remaining five employees have either gotten other jobs or are planning to take some time off.

The acquisition comes a bit more than a year after Artifact’s launch and about three months after Systrom and Krieger announced its death. “We have built something that a core group of users love,” the co-founders wrote in January, “but we have concluded that the market opportunity isn’t big enough to warrant continued investment in this way.” They said that the biggest reason to shut down was in order to focus on “newer, bigger and better things that have the ability to reach many millions of people.” The bet behind Artifact was always that AI had the potential to be a huge, internet-changing technology; maybe there were just more interesting things to work on than a news app without a big news audience.

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