A staff of Twitter alumni is at the moment launching a brand new client social app, Rex, geared toward serving to folks share their private suggestions of locations to go to — like eating places, bars, museums, and different companies, even trails and parks. Utilizing a mix of AI and laptop imaginative and prescient applied sciences, the app goals to make it simpler to get began sharing your suggestions by scouring your cellphone’s Digicam Roll for images from favourite spots, which you’ll be able to then add to curated playlists which might be shared with associates and followers.
Based in 2021 by former Twitter product supervisor Aliza Rosen, who beforehand led the initiative to vary Twitter’s character restrict from 140 to 280, Rex has been in lively improvement for just a little over a 12 months and a half. At this time, the app is formally exiting beta testing and being made accessible to the general public.
The startup can be asserting its elevate of $3.96 million in seed funding from Accel, Khosla Ventures, and different traders from Twitter, Snap, and Pinterest, together with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, by way of his fund Future Positive.
Rosen says she was impressed to construct a social suggestions app as a result of she’s at all times been desirous about journey planning, whilst a child.
“I simply beloved the method of eager about new locations to go — whether or not that was a far-off vacation spot or within the metropolis that I lived in and the encircling space,” the founder explains. “I’ve at all times simply been tremendous fascinated with discovering new locations,” she says, however notes that it’s typically tough to truly do the analysis to find the most effective spots.
“Discovering locations for any given circumstance that meets our wants and preferences could be actually arduous…that is the expertise I’ve confronted,” Rosen continues. “The web is simply inundated with opinions, rankings, suggestions, and weblog posts from strangers whose tastes we don’t know.” Plus, she provides, the crowdsourced mannequin of apps like TripAdvisor and Yelp now feels antiquated in comparison with the social merchandise folks use at the moment that ship customized, curated content material in an environment friendly means.
These ache factors led to the event of Rex — an app that goals to deal with the issues related each with discovering new locations and sharing your individual suggestions with others.
Utilizing Rex is so simple as the startup guarantees. You stroll by a number of preliminary steps to offer Rex with permission to entry your contacts and images in your cellphone after which its know-how begins working to find what attainable suggestions might already be hidden away in your Digicam Roll.
Rosen assures us that the staff is taking steps to make sure the app nonetheless respects customers’ privateness when doing so, nonetheless.
“I’ve two privateness engineers on my staff who got here from 1Password and they’re obsessive about safety,” she notes. The corporate doesn’t retailer customers’ images by itself servers — it’s solely storing the metadata domestically on customers’ gadgets. Solely when a consumer chooses to make a advice is the info then saved on Rex’s servers, Rosen notes.
To find out what suggestions you might have to share, Rex has developed a proprietary ML mannequin skilled on laptop imaginative and prescient of photos. The mannequin appears to be like for photos of locations, particularly, and matches that with picture metadata to find out if the place could also be one thing value sharing — like a photograph of a dish at a restaurant, for instance. It’s additionally taking a look at different indicators, just like the coordinates of the picture and timestamps, then tries to place collectively a greatest guess as to when that image was taken.
Whenever you discover a picture that represents a spot you’d prefer to suggest, it’s solely a few faucets to share it with your mates. You test a field, enter some textual content about why your need to suggest the place, and publish. The spot could be added to “playlists” you curate, as effectively — like these to your hometown or different cities you’ve visited, or by different themes, like delicacies. These “rex” are additionally revealed to a worldwide feed the place you’ll be able to see the suggestions from others.
Your folks’ ongoing suggestions can be found in a worldwide feed, however what’s most useful is the app’s map view which helps you to really discover your mates’ suggestions round you. That means, while you’re visiting a brand new metropolis and even your individual, you’ll be able to scan to see what locations close by your mates have steered are well worth the go to.
“In a world the place we’re inundated with one-size-fits-all content material, blogs, and lists, Rex delivers sign amidst all of the noise by serving to us uncover locations and experiences validated by folks we already belief,” mentioned Rex backer, Amit Kumar of Accel, in an announcement. “Mining the digicam roll seems to be a very good means to do that; it already accommodates an especially dependable sign of the place we go and what locations we like. Nobody else within the area has tried something prefer it, that means no suggestions are fairly as curated or private as Rex.”
Rex is a free download on the App Store. The app is just not but producing income by advertisements, subscriptions, or in-app purchases.