April 16, 2024
Bulletin is a new AI-powered news reader that tackles clickbait and summarizes stories


After the shutdown of the buzzy AI news app Artifact from Instagram’s founders, a new app called Bulletin is also now turning to AI to help remove clickbait and summarize the day’s news. Except in this case, users can customize news sources the app features, as you could in any other RSS reader, instead of relying on a curated selection of news, as Artifact did. The AI integration, meanwhile, helps to remove clickbait headlines from your news-reading experience. Plus, with a click of a button, you can access a summary of either the article or even all articles in the feed.

Bulletin was created by developer Shihab Mehboob, a prolific indie developer who recently sold his Mastodon client Mammoth to Mozilla. Notes Mehboob, the app works across Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and even Apple Vision Pro. (An Apple TV version is also coming shortly after launch.)

Image Credits: Bulletin/Shihab Mehboob

Getting started with the news app is simple as it comes with a default set of feeds for different categories of news, including World News, Technology, Entertainment, Business, Sports, Fashion and more. However, you can customize this experience if you choose, by adding or removing feeds from the app’s settings to make it your own.

As you browse the sections, you can opt to improve the titles of news posts using AI — a feature designed to help combat clickbait titles — as well as tap on the “Smart Summary” option to have a ChatGPT-style quick summary of the article’s main points. Mehboob says he’s using OpenAI’s GPT to handle the AI components.

Image Credits: Bulletin/Shihab Mehboob

These options recall some of Artifact’s best features, in that it also offered a variety of AI-powered news summaries, including those in a range of styles, like “explain like I’m five,” or for fun, in Gen Z speak, or using only emojis, among others. Bulletin doesn’t go quite that far, though it does offer an “explain like I’m five” alternative to the default summary style, for those news stories that are more complex, perhaps. Helpfully, it can translate summaries into your local language and offers a native “copy summary” button so you can save or share the news in another app.

Not all headlines benefit from the “Improve Title” clickbait removal option, but in some cases, it can be useful. For instance, a Kotaku article titled “The Most Ambitious Space Game Ever Made Is Free This Weekend” is retitled to the more accurate and complete “No Man’s Sky offers free weekend trial with Omega update.”

Within each news section, you can also get caught up quickly by tapping the AI button at the top right of the screen, whose starlight-shaped icons resemble those used by Google’s Gemini. After tapping, the AI Smart Summary will pop up overlaid on your screen offering a bulleted list of the top news from that section.

Image Credits: Bulletin/Shihab Mehboob

In Bulletin’s settings, you can toggle off the news categories you don’t want to browse, as well as the individual news sources the app includes by default. This also helps you to customize the app’s For You feed, which offers articles from across all sections. But what makes the app handy for power users and heavy news consumers is that you can add any other website that offers an RSS feed to the app, too.

Image Credits: Bulletin/Shihab Mehboob

One quibble with this feature is that you can’t just add the website URL as you can in other RSS readers like Feedly, in order to have the app auto-discover the associated RSS feed. Instead, you’ll need to copy and paste the complete RSS feed’s URL into the box provided. This could present a challenge because many websites today no longer bother featuring the orange RSS icon that directs you to their feed, as RSS has fallen out of fashion. Instead, you often have to discover the RSS feed on your own using a browser plug-in or an RSS reader that can figure out the correct feed for you.

A clever feature is the option to use iOS’s Live Activities to put a news ticker on your Lock Screen (but you can turn this off, if desired.)

Further down the road, Mehboob wants to add support for following social network updates in the app, similar to Tapestry, the new app in development from The Iconfactory, which combines RSS feeds, news alerts and social networks into one interface. Bulletin’s developer tells TechCrunch that Mastodon and Bluesky would “most likely” be his first candidates once he heads in this direction, but didn’t share a time frame.

Bulletin is free to use but the AI features are not. The anti-clickbait option and the ability to view unlimited AI summaries only come with paid plans, starting at $3.99 per month. A $14.99 per year and a $44.99 lifetime option are also available.



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