Augment’s personal AI assistant helps you keep track of your fragmented digital life • TechCrunch

If you’re struggling to keep track of your work and personal life with more than 20 different apps and productivity suites, you’re not alone. We can’t all have a PAI to track us, but Augment can be the next best thing if you need a PAI, learning from every digital interaction you have and hoping to provide the information you need before you ask. it is.

“Wait” I hear you type. “Did you write this story about Atlas Informatics five years ago?” Why yes, I did – what a memory you have. But after Atlas sank without a trace, co-founder (and Napster co-founder) Jordan Ritter dropped off my radar a few weeks ago, deciding to talk about how much Augment is the next generation of ideas. A more modern approach.

The basic idea behind Atlas was “whatever is seen is remembered,” making your entire online world, from appointments and contacts to tabs and purchases, locally searchable. But tying it to search seems like the wrong move, Ritter explained to me, for a number of reasons, but perhaps because searching for something assumes you already know what you’re looking for. The new problem is that our information is so widely distributed that you may not even remember that there is anything to remember.

“Instead of search, what we’re building is learning AI. At the base, it learns what’s important to you to help you be more productive,” Ritter said. The system uses modules that meet different needs, the first of which is “for people with busy lives in meetings. We don’t remember everything; We are unable to access all communications or documents at this time; We are attending the meeting and finally we don’t have time to follow up, because it is time for the next meeting. Augment does that for you, along with all the apps you know and love.

If you’ve ever worked with a talented EA or PA, you know how valuable it is to have this kind of information in the palm of your hand—and it’s a matter of good organization, not deep knowledge of the people or concepts involved. Not everyone has those skills, and it’s getting harder as the tools we use become more and more self-silencing.

“We thought of the app ecosystem as a solution,” Ritter said. “Now we have many point solutions and pages of applications.”

One solution is to do everything in one service, or pair them very closely together. It’s fine if you don’t mind being at the mercy of Google, Microsoft, Apple or the sales force. “Or you can use us as a bridge of services and use whatever calendar you want,” he continued.

Examples of Augment appearing in context.

Augment’s CTO Dan Sintra, with companies including Google and Axon, explains what to do for someone whose product is frequently underdeveloped or who doesn’t fully know what’s coming next. (As you can tell, I’m one of those people. I’ve even been late to a meeting with Augment for no good reason.) “It’s the context that we’re dealing with,” Sintra says.

He showed the example in his meeting with me, contact information, recent threads in email or other apps, information from any databases I have (usually LinkedIn and so on) and also soft things like topics I cover regularly, some personal details and so on. Data. It included documents sent between us in the relevant conversations, and if we had previous meetings, it would be related to recordings and summaries. After the meeting, you will receive action items tagged to people, a transcript and summary, and other follow-ups.

All of this is visible through the native app that pops up before and after meetings, but browsers can also be “add-on,” with information popping up in the browser overlay where AI is relevant—on a calendar entry, a meeting invitation, or from a name in an email thread. next to

Here’s a video of Augment’s first bids in action:

None of this is accessed via Gmail, Zoom, or anything else via the API. All of them are collected and organized by Augment Agent and grouped in their own system.

“Because of where we sit on the stack, we’re distributing the data as it comes in,” Sintra said. And where exactly is that? In a very special place, obviously, because the agent enters your browser, logs in and out, etc. This is important for it to work, but not just a screen scraper or something cobbled together.

Searching in Augment works pretty much as Atlas Recall is supposed to.

“The main approach is through accessibility and tools — you can think of it as an automated Evernote,” Ritter points out. I replied that anyone working in IT or security probably couldn’t hear him over the ringing bells going off in their heads. It collects data from every service you use after a single failure.

Ritter admits there may be some skepticism, but has made sure to build in security and privacy from the start, achieving SOC 2 certification and giving users top-to-bottom ownership of their data. It may be a while before enterprises are comfortable with this level of meta-organization, but they point out that it took years for Dropbox, the iPhone, and others to warm up to the technologies that matter now. For now they are targeting individual traders, perhaps freelancers who are looking for more clients.

It went public today after raising $3.5 million in seed funding from Incisive Ventures, led by Flying Fish and JAZZ Venture Partners, and from the Allen Institute for AI’s Incubator (which I’ve profiled before).

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