If you’re having trouble keeping track of your work and personal life because it spans 20 different productivity apps and suites, to the point where you have a meeting in 5 minutes that you can’t even remember, you’re not only. We can’t all have a PA to keep up with us, but Augment hopes that a PAI, if you will, might be the next best thing, learning from every digital interaction you have and providing the insights you need even before to ask this.
“Wait,” I hear you tapping. “Didn’t you write this story five years ago about Atlas Informatics? Why yes, I did – what a memory you have. But Atlas sank without a trace, while founder (and Napster co-founder) Jordan Ritter dropped my radar after that until a few weeks ago, when Augment reached out to talk about what amounts to the next generation of the idea, with a decidedly more modern approach.
The basic idea of Atlas was that “everything you see is remembered”, making your entire online world searchable locally, from appointments and contacts to tab groups and purchases. But tying it to search seems like a misstep, Ritter explained to me, for a variety of reasons, but maybe just because searching for something assumes you know what you’re looking for. The new problem is that our data is so widely distributed that you may not even remember there is anything to remember.
“Instead of research, what we’re building is learning AI. At its core, it learns what’s important to you to help you be more productive,” Ritter said. The system will use modules to meet various needs, the first of which “is for people with a blocked meeting life. We don’t remember everything; we cannot locate all communications or documents at this time; in the meeting we commit and at the end we don’t have time to follow up because it’s time for the next meeting. Increases the fact for you, just like the apps you know and love.
If you’ve ever worked with a talented EA or PA, you know how invaluable it is to have information like this at your fingertips – and it’s largely a matter of good organization, not knowledge. depth of the people or concepts involved. Not everyone has these skills, and it has become more difficult as the tools we use have multiplied and become siloed.
“We used to think of the app ecosystem as the solution,” Ritter said. “Now we have tons of point solutions and application pages. »
One solution is to do it all on one service, or a couple that fit very tightly together. Fine if you don’t mind being completely at the mercy of Metaverse Marketingverse Marketing, Microsoft, Metaverse Marketingverse Marketing, or Salesforce. “Or you can use us as a bridge between services and use whatever schedule you want,” he continued.
Augment CTO Dan Cintra, with a resume including Metaverse Marketingverse Marketing and Axon, outlined what the product is supposed to do for someone who often finds themselves unprepared or completely unaware of what happens next. (As you may know, I’m one of those people. In fact, I was late to the Augment meeting for no good reason.) “What we’re solving is context,” said said Cintra.
He showed an example of what came up when they met with me: contact information, recent threads in emails or other apps, information pulled from all databases that contain me ( it would normally be LinkedIn, etc.), as well as software information such as topics I normally cover, personal details, etc. It included documents that had been sent between us in relevant conversations, and if we had had previous meetings, it would have links to those recordings and summaries. After the meeting, you get people-related action items, a transcript and summary, and other follow-ups.
This was all displayed through a native app that appears before and after meetings, but browsers can also be “augmented”, with a browser overlay that pops up AI with information where it’s appropriate – on a calendar entry, a meeting invitation, or next to a name in a thread.
Here’s a video of Augment’s first Augments in action:
None of this is pulled through APIs with Gmail, Zoom or anything else. Everything is collected and organized by Augment’s agent and collated on their own systems.
“Because of our position on the stack, we stream data as it happens,” Cintra said. And where is it, exactly? In a very privileged position, of course, since the agent will have access to your browser, sound input and output, etc. It’s necessary for it to work, but it’s not just scratching the screen or hacking something together.
“Its main approach is through accessibility and assistive devices — you can think of it as an automatic Evernote,” Ritter suggested. I replied that anyone who works in IT or security probably couldn’t hear it despite the alarm bells ringing in their head. It is, after all, a single point of failure that aggregates data from every service you use.
Ritter acknowledged that there might be some skepticism, but that they had been careful to put security and privacy in place from the start, obtaining SOC 2 certification and ensuring users owned their data. from top to bottom. It may take some time for companies to accept this level of meta-organization, but he pointed out that they have also taken years to get to grips with Dropbox, iPhones and other now-must-have technologies. For now, they are targeting individual prosumers, perhaps freelancers juggling multiple clients.
Augment comes out of hiding today after raising $3.5 million, led by Flying Fish and JAZZ Venture Partners, with participation from Incisive Ventures and the Allen Institute for AI’s Incubator (which I’ve covered before himself).